We are lucky to have a friend as well as a Councilmember in Charles Allen. He and his team periodically send a Ward 6 update. We are sharing the latest one, in case you missed it.
A couple of weeks ago I wrapped up my family leave and came back in the office full-time. Jordi and I are so excited that Everett is doing well and that Cora has fully embraced her new role as big sister. And as I got back in the swing of things at the office, so too did the Council as we came back into full session earlier this week. Between the successful H Street Festival last weekend, Barracks Row Festival this weekend, and nights full of community meetings and events, it feels like everyone is back at full speed. This week has already seen a lot of change and action at the Council and I’m thrilled to be chairing a new subcommittee focused on growing local businesses in our neighborhoods.
Council Restructures; Chair of Local Business Development and Utilities Subcommittee
Following the abrupt resignation of former Councilmember Vincent Orange last month, the Council has reorganized committees to fill the gap his departure created for the remainder of our current Council session. I’m proud that on Tuesday, the Council approved a plan to create several subcommittees and I was named the Chair of the new Subcommittee on Local Business Development and Utilities.
The subcommittee will have responsibility for several issues impacting small and local businesses and entrepreneurs across the District of Columbia. The agencies under the subcommittee’s purview will include: Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), Public Service Commission (PSC), the Office of People’s Counsel (OPC), and several others. The new subcommittee will have oversight of DC’s successful Main Streets programs, operations of the Business Improvement Districts, the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program, alcoholic beverage licensing and enforcement, and utility and telecommunications regulation.
While there are only a few months left in this Council Period, I look forward to chairing this subcommittee for the final months of the year. I plan to focus on supporting our growing local businesses and continued oversight of important programs like CBEs, Main Streets, and BIDs. I’m also excited to see the upcoming launch of the Made In DC program, which I authored earlier this year, and to talk with our local entrepreneurs about how to make DC a friendlier place to start and run a successful business.
Profile of New 1st District Commander Morgan Kane
In one of my last newsletters, I shared that MPD’s 1st District has experienced a leadership change as former Commander Robert Contee was promoted to Assistant Chief and we welcomed Morgan Kane as the new Commander for 1D. I’ve had a chance to meet Commander Kane and she and I already have started talking on a regular basis to share information and work on public safety challenges. The Hill Rag recently wrote a great article to profile and introduce Commander Kane to the community. Please read it when you get a moment and join me in welcoming her to this new role.
First Council Session of the Fall
Last year, I introduced legislation to help seniors and individuals with disabilities stay in their homes and successfully age-in-place. On Tuesday, Council held its first legislation meeting of the fall and gave final approval to this important legislation that creates a program to help pay for home modifications that often make the difference between being able to stay in your home, or having to move out. I was proud to work with Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Jack Evans on this effort and look forward to seeing this make a real difference for DC residents. Among other efforts, the Council also gave final approval to the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act, an initiative that was many years in the works and brought many stakeholders together for the final legislation. I also joined some of my other colleagues in co-introducing measures aimed at protecting workers and fair wages, and providing new oversight and accountability to protect students taking out loans for their education.
Yesterday the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary voted unanimously to approve my Automatic Voter Registration bill, sending it forward to the full Council for consideration. This bill will automatically register residents to vote when they fill out an application for any identification at the DMV. I introduced this bill to reduce obstacles to voter registration and increase participation in our elections. At a time when some states and elected leaders seem more interested in finding ways to block people from voting, I am proud that the District of Columbia is moving in the opposite direction to automatically enfranchise residents.
Two Ward 6 Voting Precincts To Change for November 8 Election
For the November 8th General Election, Ward 6 will have two voting precincts that are moving from their traditional locations – Precincts 91 and 85.
With Watkins Elementary School undergoing modernization this school year, it will not be available to be used as a polling location for Precinct 91. The Board of Elections has proposed using Friendship-Chamberlain Public Charter School as the alternative voting site for this precinct in Hill East. The school’s address is 1345 Potomac Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003, and the building is ADA accessible for all voters. This new temporary site is roughly 3 blocks away from Watkins Elementary.
The polling location for Precinct 85 is going to be moving permanently from Bridgepoint Hospital (formerly known as Specialty Hospital or MedLink) up the street to the Northeast Neighborhood Library. The library’s address is 330 Seventh Street, NE and the building is ADA accessible for all voters. The new site is just one block north of the former site at the hospital.
The Board has sought feedback on this proposal, but I’ve heard from many neighbors that these alternative sites will work well for the community. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know so that I can share that with the Board of Elections.
Hosting DC Statehood Forum for Ward 6
Later this month, Council Chair Phil Mendelson will be holding a hearing on the proposed state constitution on Tuesday, September 27, at 11:00am, as part of the statehood process that will include the Advisory Referendum vote on DC Statehood on the upcoming November ballot. That hearing will be continued with an evening session on Thursday, October 6, at 6:30pm. To sign up to testify in person or in writing, contact Committee Director Evan Cash at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 724-8196.
I know not everyone can make it to a Council hearing, so I’ve decided to host my own forum on DC Statehood in the Ward. I hope you’ll join me for a Ward 6 Statehood Forum on Wednesday, October 5, 7pm – 8:30pm. I’ll be hosting a meeting that evening at the Northeast Neighborhood Library (330 Seventh Street, NE) to hear your questions and thoughts on the draft constitution and what comes next with the DC Statehood effort. You can RSVP online here.
Sun, Oct 2, 2-4pm: Hill Center Family Day
Wed, Oct 5, 7-8:30pm: Ward 6 Statehood Forum (NE Library)
Thur, Oct 6, 11:30am: Council Roundtable on Summer Modernization Work at DCPS Schools, Lead Prevention Act
Thur, Oct 6, 6:30pm: Council Hearing on Statehood Constitution
Fri, Oct 14, 8-9:30am: Southwest Community Office Hours – Waterfront Safeway
Wed, Oct 19, 4-8pm: Union Station Expansion Project public meeting
Fri, Oct 21, 8-9:30am: Capitol Hill Community Office Hours – Radici
Fri, Nov 4, 8-9:30am: Shaw Community Office Hours – Compass Coffee
As always, thank you for your support and please let me know if there’s anything I or my staff can do to help you or your neighborhood.