By Jana Curry
On Saturday, May 18, 2013, Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) announced that he will be running for mayor in 2014. Wells spoke to a group of supporters on H Street NE, saying there is a crisis of ethics inside city hall and he is committed to ending corruption. He also said he is dedicated to creating more “liveable and walkable” and safe communities, reducing crime in the city and focusing on job creations.
Wells is the second council member to announce a mayoral bid; Councilmember Muriel Bower (D-Ward 4) told supporters in March she’d run in 2014. The 40-year-old Bowser was first elected to the D.C. Council in a 2007 special election to succeed then-Mayor Adrian Fenty as the Ward 4 member. She was re-elected by wide margins in 2008 and 2012.
During her time on the Council, Bowser has acted similarly to Fenty when he represented Ward 4, focusing on constituent services and aid to senior citizens. She has also been a strong proponent of retail development, including the construction of several Walmart stores throughout the city.
In a speech to supporters, Bowser, the new chair of the Council’s Committee on Economic Development, highlights the economic progress in her ward and how she will continue to bring her progress to the city. Former Councilmember William Lightfoot, Bowser’s campaign chairman, explains that Muriel has played an internal part of leading her ward in faster growth and greater prosperity than other wards and deserves credit. If elected, she said, “There won’t be any project that’s too small to get my attention.”
Bowser has begun knocking on resident’s doors asking them to support her as the city’s next mayor, walking neighborhoods in three wards, something Wells has not yet done. But like Wells, Bowser argues that there needs to be a new mayor to end the current corruption.
During the speech to supporters, Wells emphasizes that the current corruption in D.C. government hurts the growth of the city, and if elected, he would restore integrity and create a city where change was influenced by people and not money. Wells, who has served Ward 6 on the D.C. Council since 2006, said that he will not take campaign contributions from corporations or lobbyists.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has not announced whether he will run, but rumors have circulated that he will seek reelection; although, his term office has been ravaged by numerous scandals. In the past, Gray has had campaign problems, where Federal officials have been investigating where there was illegal activity happening within his 2010 campaign. A former Gray campaign aide has admitted to facilitating a $650,000 “shadow campaign.” Though the mayor has denied any knowledge of such activity, several of his former political aides have pleaded guilty to campaign fraud.
With all the scandals and fraud investigations with Gray, it helps the current councilmembers take a lead in their campaign for a new mayor.
Wells said that one of his main goals will be restoring integrity in the government. “Everyone knows we’ve had a difficult journey,” Wells said of the District’s battles against crack cocaine epidemic in the 80s, violent crime, murder and financial constraints. “We’ve pulled the city out of that. We’re moving forward. We’re bringing new jobs. If we have a corrupt government, it’s all at risk.”
Wells’ vision for the city will focus on three main goals- cutting the number of juvenile crimes in half, making sure that every family in Washington has a quality elementary school in their neighborhood and build the next generation of pubic transit. While Bowsers vision focuses attention on “how we protect the diversity of our city, manage our growth and move forward as a city.” Like Wells, she emphasizes trust. Bowser states “people want to be able to trust their leaders, that’s first and foremost.”
Evans To Announce
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has also thrown his hat into the ring and on June 8th will officially become the third candidate to enter the race. His entering the race, would seem to make it a bit easier for Bowser to pull votes, splitting the white vote between Evans and Wells. With all three councilmember’s Democrats, another possible sitting member has been whispered to run, David Catania (I).
According to a tweet from NBC4’s Tom Sherwood, Evans will make his announcement at the corner of 14th and Q streets NW, outside the newly opened Le Diplomate restaurant. Evans, 59, said he chose the location because he wants to highlight the “rebirth” of the Logan Circle area and mentioned how the 2001 opening of the Whole Foods Market on P Street NW began to change the neighborhood.
Evans is the longest sitting member of the District’s city council and ran for mayor in 1998, but lost to Anthony Williams and came in third behind then Ward 7 Councilmember Kevin P. Chavous.
Evans is a long-time Georgetown resident who now lives on P Street in the East Village with his wife and six children. He was first elected to the council through a special election in 1991.