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Council At-Large Seat Up for Grabs

On April 23 there will be an election in the District for the Council-at-large seat vacated when Phil Mendelson was elected Council Chair. It was filled on an interim basis by the D.C. Democratic State Committee which selected Anita Bonds, their Chairperson, to serve until this election.

Unfortunately there appears to be little interest in the election. Most don't know there is one no less who is running. The anticipated voter turn-out is less than 15% of those eligible to vote.

The reasons for low turnouts in special elections can be blamed on many things. People don't believe that one new person on the Council will make any difference; no one in the race has created any excitement; the local press haven't talked enough about the election; or general frustration that it doesn't matter who you elect they are all in it for themselves anyway. Some think the district is doing great so why bother and others just never get involved in politics and think it is ok to let someone else decide. I always felt compelled to vote in any election even if there wasn't a candidate I could wholeheartedly support. All too often I and many others vote for the lesser of the evils. But I do vote because there are a myriad of issues that I care about; some impacting me personally and others impacting children, seniors, the disabled and people who can't always speak up for themselves. I have worked for many candidates throughout my life. I am first generation American and while both my parents were Democrats and did vote, neither was actively involved in politics. They didn't always understand my passion for it. I began working with my local Democratic club after school in 1959 at the tender age of twelve running a local storefront in upper Manhattan for John F. Kennedy. I volunteered for Bill Ryan (D-NY) among others and helped start the Heights Reform Democrats. I worked for Abe Beame when he was Mayor of New York as Coordinator of Local Government for the City of New York. I worked for Bella Abzug (D-NY) and came to D.C. in 1978 to work in the Carter Administration. Since that time my political involvement has always been as a volunteer. I never worked for D.C. government or took a paid position with any campaign. I am just passionate about my politics. In this current race for Council-at-large I have urged people not to vote for Republican Patrick Mara. The Washington Post recently endorsed him saying that his connection to the Republican Party shouldn't eliminate him from consideration. I agree with that. The issue with Mara is that he is a total hypocrite. He espouses pro-women, pro-LGBT and pro-minority views to potential constituents but actively supported the ultra-conservative Romney/Ryan ticket. Had they won they would have had the power to act on their stated goal of doing irreparable harm to the groups Mara claims to support. Many moderate Republicans like Colin Powell didn't support that ticket because it went against their strongly held beliefs. Mara clearly had no compunction in that regard.

I haven't endorsed a candidate yet. Those vying for your support aside from Republican Mara are: Elissa Silverman, Matthew Frumin, Paul Zuckerberg, Anita Bonds, Michael Brown, and Perry Redd.

I urge voters to take a good look at all the candidates, their positions and real accomplishments. Look at what they have done in the past and who they have supported to judge consistency on issues and moral questions. See whether they appear to be in this for personal gain or do they really want to fight for what's best for all the people of the District.