20 Mar 2014

Local Politics:

Ward Six Councilmember Candidates: Pranav Badhwar

Pranav Badhwar at home. Photo by María Helena Carey

Pranav Badhwar at home. Photo by María Helena Carey

It is no secret that Capitol Hill, like D.C., leans strongly Democrat.

So when Pranav Badhwar stepped forward as the Libertarian candidate for Ward Six council member, we at The Hill is Home wanted to know how his campaign would appeal to Hill voters.

Although this is Badhwar’s first time running as a candidate for any office, he has always strongly identified with Libertarian principles. He became more actively involved with the party when he helped Ron Paul’s campaign during the last election. It wasn’t until his friend Bruce Majors ran for the D.C. Delegate seat and obtained enough votes to make the Libertarian party a viable party that Badhwar gave serious thought to running for office (currently, Bruce Majors is running for D.C. mayor).

Pranav is quietly philosophical, quoting Cicero and other philosophers during our conversation. He also cites Gallup polls, scientific studies, and all manner of interesting articles.

He is a careful thinker who urges to be thoughtful in all aspects of government. He is aware that his delivery is not nearly as polished as that of the other candidates, but he hopes that people focus on the content of his ideas.

Originally from India by way of Toronto and New York City, Badhwar moved to Washington with his wife in 2000. After living in Northwest for a couple of years, and with the impending birth of their daughter, they started looking for a larger house in 2003. “Our realtor insisted in showing us places only in Capitol Hill,” Badhwar says. Since then, his family fell in love with the Hill and started getting involved in neighborhood activities.

At the core of Badhwar’s campaign is job creation and the curtailing business regulations in the city. A job, he argues, gives life, purpose, and meaning. He highlights the fact that in Washington D.C., part of what keeps the income disparity going strong is a lack of jobs, especially trade labor and unskilled labor. In order to make a livable wage in the city, Badhwar argues that the status quo makes it necessary to have a graduate degree, but it should not be that way.

He also feels like the regulations in place control tradesmen-type jobs — he cites at least 41 different professions that have lower education requirements and which are currently affected by too many regulations.

He is against raising the minimum wage across the board. To him, this would only place undue amounts of financial stress on smaller business. Since larger corporations are able to expedite and automate processes, they can afford to pay employees more. This is not always the case with smaller mom-and-pop shops, he says. Badhwar also supports giving business owners more free enterprise, especially in a places that cater to smaller business, like Capitol Hill.

When the subject of schools comes up, Badhwar says the schools have been run by politicians and bureaucrats, making it’s easier to “mask failures.” DCPS’s problems are due to its central office, he says. Decentralizing schools and pushing for charter-like autonomy is a priority, which would allow schools to self-regulate and govern as they see fit.

He also opposes the CSX Virginia Avenue rail tunnel expansion. Even though he is pro-rail and pro-industry, he is aware of the potential hazards to Ward Six.

Regarding crime, Badhwar talks about how a large percentage of crimes in DC are nonviolent in nature. This is due to the high penalties associated with the criminalization of drugs, he says. Badhwar supports decriminalization, a position that tends to be polarizing.

Although Badhwar is aware that he may not win this election, he is hoping to raise awareness of the Libertarian party and a more thoughtful approach to political issues. If you want to learn more about the candidate, you can visit his website at http://www.pranav4dc.com/ or follow him on Twitter.

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