New Republican runs for D.C. Council
Ronald Moten, co-founder of Peaceaholics, ally of former Mayor Adrian Fenty and a long-time opponent of Mayor Vincent Gray, will formally announce that he is switching his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican in a run for D.C. Council. The Ward 7 seat is currently held by Councilmember Yvette Alexander (D), an ally of Gray. He spoke with The Georgetown Dish about his candidacy and D.C. politics.
Why are you running as a Republican?
Six years ago we started taking children to Alabama [to learn more about the Civil Rights era]. A lot of the people on those trips were Republicans. At first, I thought they were crazy. Over the years they told me they had their own businesses. They told me about their lives. I got to know them. I learned there were a lot of white people who supported us [during the Civil Rights era] that I didn't know about. That kind of changed my life. Marriage, building institutions, self-reliance -- these are all principles of the Republican party.What do you think Martin Luther King Jr. would say about that? I think you have to have a balance. Where have we gotten since 1964? I couldn't tell you. Martin Luther King was fighting the Democrats. I see who I'm fighting. I'm fighting who he was fighting. What do you think of Adrian Fenty's term as Mayor?
It was sort of hard for me to see what happened to him. He wanted to make change, but the politicians in the Council weren't interested in that. It was old-school politics, where some of them care about perks and that you treat them a certain way than getting things done for the people.What about your own controversies with the Peaceaholics and the fire truck donated to the Dominican Republic? There was a lot of misinformation put out there. They said the fire truck was worth $150,000. It was worth $10,000. People said a lot of false things about me -- crazy stuff. It would make your stomach just boil up. But try to destroy me and you make me more powerful. It's the same thing they tried to do to Adrian.Do you see any parallels -- in terms of campaign-related accusations -- with what has happened recently to presidential candidate Herman Cain? No.Why are you running against Yvette Alexander? She hasn't done anything. There's just too much corruption in the Council. The same Council that asks for the audits -- they control the information. How can you do better? I think that first of all -- I speak out a lot. I went to the vigil for the guy who was killed in Georgetown. [Alexander] didn't show up. Here I am a guy who is financially destroyed by the government, and I showed up and I am helping the family. [Alexander] hasn't been responsive. She doesn't come out in the community. Nobody knows her. It's poor leadership. It's horrible.What has Yvette Alexander done in Ward 7? We have to go outside the ward for anything we want. We have gotten nothing in the ward. It's terrible. What she's done -- she's been a great failure. She has a pretty smile.Should Councilmember Harry Thomas remain in office despite the settlement regarding his personal use of government funds meant for children? He should have resigned. You're taking money when people have been killed? Out of respect for the community, he should have resigned some time ago.What about Chairman Kwame Brown? I've thought Kwame Brown was a decent guy. I know a lot of things he's done from his heart. But sometimes you're in a corrupt system and you get caught up. Politicians are like children. If you don't correct them, they destroy themselves, and then they destroy the communities they represent.How did you meet Adrian Fenty? We went to Alice Deal [Middle School] together. Everyone knew Ronald Moten in the school because I got called to the office every day. You grew up in Petworth and other areas in the District. What was your favorite neighborhood? My favorite was River Terrace. It was a quiet neighborhood. You had a park younger people, older people. It was close-knit, close to the highway. My next favorite now is Hillcrest, then Benning Terrace. It keeps me grounded. I'm the type of person that brings people together. I have friends from all different backgrounds.
What can you bring to D.C. politics?
I want to end the dependency that we've had. I want to bring back the values. I'm not intersted in having a lot of friends, I'm interested in being representive of my people -- people throught the city who connect together who are about the uplifiting of the city and where we're going. If we put the right systems in place, we can fix this. I hope people will support me to stand up to the lobbyists and the corruption. More information about Ron Moten's campaign is here.