By C.N. Editorial Board
Nearly a year has passed since Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May was elected. Her election came on the heels of the passing of former ‘Mayor for Life’ and Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry. May entered into a crowded field in the race for his seat, but came out victorious against contenders.
Over the past year, Ward 8 has seen major and positive movement with May leading several initiatives for her community. She has shown herself as a principal advocate for the residents she represents. She is creating a legacy of lasting legislation that will support long-term growth and development in the ward.
The Capital News endorses May for re-election because she has shown herself steadfast in the fight for Ward 8 and has proposed sound legislation to move the neighborhoods in ward 8 forward. We further believe May’s focus on the preservation of affordable housing is important in a ward plagued with unemployment.
We are equally impressed with May’s display of concern for economic development. Immediately after her election, she helped to bring the East Sports and Entertainment Arena as a development project of the St. Elizabeth’s campus to the Congress Heights neighborhood. She continues to actively advocate on behalf of Ward 8, namely by opposing legislation that would cap the District’s investment dollars in the arena. May stated, “As many of you know, the Entertainment and Sports Arena is a large and much needed investment in Ward 8. For far too long, Ward 8 has been underinvested. My fight for economic development and social equity continues. Our community will not be singled out as the place to apply the cap because we believe that the District has an obligation to invest in our community, our businesses, and our residents.”
Even more than being the ward’s needed voice on the Council, May has proposed legislation that will directly impact residents here. Recently she introduced the Social Equity Empowers Dreams (S. E. E. D. ) Act of 2016. S. E. E. D. is designed to repair inequalities in education, housing, health, workforce development and business development in Ward 8 by creating unique programming targeted at the five focus areas.
May also introduced the Social Equity Empowers Dreams (S.E.E.D.) Health Act of 2016, which details how to make Ward 8’s access to healthcare equal to every other ward in the city. This Act will also require the Mayor to submit a plan within four (4) months for building a hospital and other healthcare facilities in Ward 8, by offering incentives for doctors to move to Ward 8. Some proposed incentives include tax reductions, student loan repayments and grants to build doctor’s offices and hospitals.
Other notable legislation she has introduced includes the Ward 8 Senior Service Project Day Resolution of 2016 and the Dr. Frances Cress Welsing Resolution of 2016. The Private Security Camera Incentive Amendment, which has become law. This makes the current rebate program for home and business owners to buy cameras for their property an optional voucher program. May said, “I introduced this legislation because residents in my ward need the funding up front, not on the back end, to support the purchase of a camera.”
May says she fights for legislation like this because she understands the residents of her ward. Before running for councilmember May held several community-based positions that we feel prepared her for this seat, including working as a legislative aid for Councilmember Barry.
Her work around public safety, jobs, youth, and seniors has been nothing short of remarkable. She has worked with government partners to provide human and social services for seniors and families, and to help increase community development, neighborhood stability, and safe streets. She has worked with the Police Chief and her officers to look at ways of developing responsive, responsible, and community-oriented solutions to further address the violence in the Ward. “We must have jobs, and ones that pay livable wages to create the stability and peace our residents deserve as well as the economic growth and development that is good for this community. To make those things happen, to help us create pathways to the middle class, we must also improve education and training for our youth and develop solutions that lead to sustainable employment for them.” said May.
May is a lawyer by training and trade and is a member of the Bar here in the District of Columbia and in the state of Florida. She has served on several boards including serving as the Chairman of the Board for the DC Housing Authority, becoming the youngest African American woman in the country to lead a large urban housing authority. She was previously the Executive Director of Vision of Victory Community Development Corporation, where she managed a gold-star early childhood program. On behalf of her church, Allen Chapel AME, May also developed an award winning 91-unit affordable senior housing building called The Roundtree Residences.
While May has introduced, co-introduced and co-sponsored several legislative pieces with her fellow colleagues on the Council, she has not shied away from advocating directly to Mayor Bowser on behalf of Ward 8. In a budget priority letter to Mayor Bowser, May laid out the budget priorities for Ward 8 which include large asks for funding for more affordable housing, public safety, economic development, education and recreation, transportation and healthcare. “I have walked my ward in its entirety. I continuously speak to residents and ask for their input on what they want to move this ward forward. The areas that I believe the city can be helpful is exactly what I put in my letter to the Mayor,” said May.
May is extremely active and visible in her community. She is also a stanch proponent of making the government accessible to the community. During the council’s recess, instead of taking a vacation, May held pop-up office hours (and brought numerous government agencies with her) to several neighborhoods in Ward 8. She recently held pop-up office hours in the Ward 7 Safeway and Giant grocery stores to ensure Ward 8 residents have access to services.