By C.N. Staff Writer
Ward 8 has often been characterized as a ward with low voter turn out. Political pundits have said that voters are apathetic. Residents have said politicians don’t care and only campaign when they “need” their votes. Even more, it has been the thought that young people- those categorized between ages 18-35- don’t vote. However, this year’s political season might see a change to that old adage. This November there will be four new faces on the ballot for the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) seat across Ward 8.
The Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner seat is a locally elected governmental body that considers a wide range of policies and programs affecting their neighborhoods. Ward 8 has five commissions, with each commission comprising of seven commissioners. Anyone can run for the seat and residents in the respective single-member districts (SMD) vote for their representative who then makes up the larger ANC district (ANC 8A, ANC 8B, etc.).
The four new faces are Jeffrey Toney, who is running for the 8E03seat, Tina Fletcher, who is running for the 8A06 seat, Kevin Vaughn, Jr. who is running for the 8B03 seat and Markus Batchelor, who is running for 8C04. Each of these new faces is under 35 and hope to join other 35 and under standing commissioners Anthony Lorenzo Green (8B04) Darrell Gaston (8B02).
Jeffrey Toney is a lifelong Ward 8 resident, who grew up in the Congress Heights neighborhood and currently resides in the Buena Vista neighborhood. He is a graduate of Archbishop Carroll High School, and graduated with a degree in communications from the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus. Jeff also received his J.D. from the David A. Clarke Law School at the University of the District of Columbia. He is currently the Adjustment Unit Manager at the Office of Tax and Revenue with the D.C. Government.
He is a former youth basketball coach and supports access to safe recreation space and organized play activities for youth in Ward 8 and throughout the District. Jeff said he is running to help his SMD create safe and well-maintained streets, clean up dilapidated and vacant housing, and connect the community with essential government services. “I’m running to ensure that the residents of Ward 8E03 are better informed about changes that are coming to our community and to be an effective liaison between my neighbors and District government.”
Tina Fletcher is a Grand View resident who has been involved in the area for some time. She is a former educator at Anacostia High School, where she was named Teacher of the Year in 2010. Currently, Tina serves as an author, motivational speaker and fundraising consultant for non-profit organizations and political candidates.
In 2006 she founded S.A.S.S.: Students Advocating for Stronger Sisterhood, an organization that promotes sisterhood amongst college aged women and in 2010 she founded Dream Girls, a mentoring program for underserved girls. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Greater Washington chapter of the NAACP and the Give 1 Project. She said, “I am running for ANC 8A06 because I wanted to ensure more residents of Historic Anacostia are involved in the cultural, political and social decisions being made in the neighborhood. I want to make sure residents are informed and empowered to participate.”
Kevin Vaughn is a resident of the Garfield neighborhood. He has lived in Ward 8 for the past 8 years and has worked for a local non-profit Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation for the past 8 years. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation.
Kevin said he is running for 8B03 because he understands the needs of the community and feels he could best represent them. “I believe every citizen of Ward 8 should have access to quality, affordable amenities and enjoy our incredible natural resources and recreational opportunities. Most of all, I believe every citizen should be able to find a good quality job.”
Markus Batchelor is a life long Washingtonian, born in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Ward 8 and has lived here all of his life. Markus began his career in politics at the age of 15. Markus is the former Youth Mayor of Washington DC, serving the post form 2009 to 2010. He has also been active in Ward 8 politics, formerly serving as the Ward 8 Democrats Vice President.
Currently Markus is a student at George Washington University and works as a Lead Program Assistant for the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute. He said he is running because he knows he can be a “fierce advocate for Ward 8.” He said, “I pledge to be a community-oriented Commissioner; one that’s accessible, dependable, and present. We need a Commissioner ready to engage and mobilize our residents behind the issues we care about the most. I’m ready to go to every doorstep and on every block of our district to make sure you’re getting what you deserve and that I’m representing you the best I can.”
The election for ANC Commissioners coincides with the November 4th general election for mayor. To find out more about each candidate please visit the Board of Elections or visit their respective sites.