Raise the Bar and Vote Peter Shapiro

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Peter Shapiro
Peter Shapiro

On Tuesday, raise the bar for D.C. Council candidates by voting for Peter Shapiro, the best qualified candidate for at-large councilmember.  No other candidate combines clear, specific policy positions with a track record of legislative leadership.  Those are simple, uncontestable facts.

After two years on the Town Council in Brentwood, Maryland, Shapiro was elected to the Prince George's County Council from 1998 to 2004 and served as council chair for two years.  Unlike in D.C., the Council Chair position in Prince George’s County is elected within the Council, attesting to Shapiro’s ability to work collegially with a diverse Council to get things done.  That’s a skill that has been sorely missing on the current DC Council.

Shapiro’s platform includes specific proposals to address unemployment, affordable housing and homelessness and economic development that have worked elsewhere, but require the legislative leadership that Shapiro has demonstrated.

Those are the reasons why Shapiro’s enthusiastic supporters are so committed to his candidacy.  The reality is that other candidates – Councilmember Vincent Orange and Sekou Biddle – lack either clear, specific policy positions or a track record of legislative leadership.

Councilmember Orange has served two full terms and a partial term on the D.C. Council, and has no significant legislative achievements to show.  He routinely introduces legislation, such as a recent Jobs Czar bill, on his own with no consultation with his colleagues.  His proposals go nowhere as a result, and he is viewed as a grand-stander by his colleagues.

Sekou Biddle would be an attractive candidate if he would tell voters specifically what he would do if elected.  The lack of specific policy positions from Biddle has frustrated me and others who have met with him with an open mind to his candidacy, and raised concerns about how he would legislate if elected.  I sincerely hope that, should Biddle lose, he writes and advocates for educational policy issues and develops specific proposals in advance of a future Council run.

Biddle’s lack of detailed legislative proposals is concerning given his erratic handling of important legislation during his brief tenure on the Council.  Then Interim Councilmember Biddle voted against a tax increase that was supported by most DC residents and ultimately passed the Council, and that Biddle had previously supported.  He explained his vote to me and others by saying that he believed equivalent cuts could be made in certain agencies, but that he didn’t have the time to research and propose those cuts in lieu of the tax increase. 

It is probably due to Peter Shapiro’s deep legislative experience that he has specific policy proposals.  For some unknown reason, many have dismissed Shapiro’s legislative leadership in Prince George’s County – often known as Ward 9 – as evidence of a lack of knowledge of DC issues.  Shapiro speaks about many issues – such that the workforce intermediary – with more knowledge than half the current Councilmembers.  And he also brings extensive experience, such as chair of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, to the many metropolitan-wide issues that several current Councilmembers have not mastered.

When Shapiro and his supporters are asked why we should vote for him, they point to his policy proposals. 

When Orange and his supporters are asked why we should vote for him, they point to legislative proposals that went nowhere and they falsely take credit for anything that happened in Ward 5 during his two terms. 

When Biddle and his supporters are asked why we should vote for him, they say that Biddle was in the race before Shapiro, and that progressives need to take turns.  That’s simply not good enough. 

Progressives aren’t losing elections in D.C. because we aren’t good at convincing good candidates to sit down and wait their turn for office.  Progressives are losing elections in DC because we aren’t good at building campaign organizations and enthusiastic, active constituencies. 

When the latter happens, then progressives will break out of the pack of contenders and win elections.  That’s Shapiro’s plan, and he has earned my vote as a result.

By Ken Archer

0 Comments For This Article


Archer and other progressives support Shapiro over Biddle as the "better" and "more progressive" candidate. I don't happen to agree on either count, but for purposes of argument, let's grant them both points. The fact remains that Biddle is a progressive candidate who has garnered the support and confidence of a large number of voters, the Post, City Paper, the Current, and many others. Shapiro is largely unknown in the city and stands no chance of beating Orange. I, for one, am supporting the progressive candidate who has the best chance of beating Orange, which would be a big step forward in changing our City Council for the better, and that candidate is Sekou Biddle. A vote for Shapiro only increases the odds that Orange will win again because of a split among progressive voters. We can't let that happen again.


"Progressives are losing elections in DC because we aren’t good at building campaign organizations and enthusiastic, active constituencies."
By backing candidates that are unknown in DC because they do not have a track record of doing anything in DC, then they should lose. Shapiro could use his time fixing DC, rather than expecting voters to elect him without seeing him in action in DC!
Why not back a candidate that has worked on the DC school board and been engaged in his community for years?
Vote Biddle so we can insure an Vincent Orange defeat Tuesday. Progressives need to learn how to run DC campaigns on their own time, rather than at the expense of all DC residents who will be stuck with VO for at least two more years.


Interesting that Shapiro gets the endorsement - he is the only candidate that has bought advertising in the race. I am also surprised that a guy can parachute in from PG County and get any traction in DC. You know the place that just put Jack Johnson behind bars. If I remember correctly Shapiro actually publicly supported the thief. We should expect more from our politicians.

Old School DC Politics

I want to take this opportunity to thank Ken Archer for this article! I haven't loved Ken Archer and his contributions to DC politics this much since I was rooting for Jack Evans, and Archer "managed" the campaign of Evans' opponent, Fiona Grieg. Archer went on to claim in a Greater Greater Washington screed that Evans had sent spies to look into Fiona's front windows, encasing any hopes of future respectable political engagement by Fiona in approximately fifteen tons of concrete.

Well, I have some money orders to write, from my other office in PG County, where we also LOVED Shapiro, but again, on behalf of us all, thank you Ken!


Thanks for re-electing Vincent Orange. No, really, we love more corrupt do nothings on the Council. Well done. There are some other words I'd like to use, but none that you'll print.

Ken Archer makes it happen!

Yes, Ken has been able to make it happen, four years for VO!
I wonder if Ken's feels that his is endorsement was able to influnce 500 anti-VO votes?
If yes, I suggest that VO send a few 1000.00 money orders to Ken in a show of appreciation for his delivering the winning margin. A few to Greater greater Washington and DC for Democracy are in order as well.
I hope that Mr. Archer and other Progressives have enough money to hire David Wilmont or Kerry Pierson to lobby VO on envirinmental, tax, education and a host of other issues. That will be the only way to influnce VO...