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Why I Support Mendelson for Council Chair

After all the sturm and drang of the past year the DC Council appears to have settled down to doing its work on behalf of the citizens of the District. After the resignation of Kwame Brown there was near unanimous agreement that it was time to select someone who was stable, hardworking, intelligent, progressive and didn’t crave the spotlight for its own sake to replace him. The person fitting that description was Phil Mendelson, a long time at-large councilmember. Phil has shown he will serve in the mold of a past Council Chair, David A. Clark, after who the UDC law school is named.

Phil recently won his fourth term on the Council and while it is no secret that I supported someone else for that seat in the past year I have come to recognize that Phil provides a very important role on the Council and represents the epitome of a good-government candidate. Phil is a fulltime Council member and dedicates all his efforts to making life better for the people of the District of Columbia.

Phil was first elected to the City Council in November 1998. He currently serves as both the Chairman of the Council and Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary. He is a member of four additional committees: Jobs and Workforce Development; Libraries, Parks, Recreation, and Planning; Public Service and Consumer Affairs; and the Subcommittee on Redistricting 2011. Along with representing the Council at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, he’s also President of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO).

As Chairman one of the roles he also assumes is that of public education oversight. In Phil’s own words, “Education is the opportunity by which our youngest generation can succeed and achieve and realize the American Dream and be whatever they want to be. If we fail them, then they don’t realize that dream.” Phil has focused on the issues of truancy and on working with DCPS on how to achieve more stability for both principals and teachers in the system.

Phil believes that government should be an honest, efficient deliverer of services and that the District should help those least able to help themselves to develop the skills to become self-sufficient and end the cycle of poverty. He believes government must try to do this without unduly increasing the tax burden already shouldered by the District’s middle and upper income residents. He has said that the nation’s capital should be a model of service delivery for public education, public safety and public health and he will work to see that it is.

Contrary to some reporting and the negative view some residents hold of District government, the City is doing really well in nearly all measureable ways. Those include our finances which are the envy of most other cities and states; progress in public safety; increasing effectiveness and timeliness of the delivery of city services; and progress in ensuring that all our residents have access to health insurance and medical care.

Phil Mendelson has had a role in the progress we have made in many of these areas and has diligently worked to ensure that no citizen in the District is left behind. That is why I enthusiastically support him for Council Chairman and urge a vote for him on November 6th.