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Questions were distributed to every candidate running for D.C. Council or Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Featured answers represent those that chose to participate and are not an endorsement.

 

Voting Tips:

  • You can still register to vote at the polls from May 31st through Election Day.
  • Early voting started Tuesday, May 31, in the Early Voting Center located at One Judiciary Square. Hours are 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., seven days a week. Eight additional sites will begin operation June 4 – 11. Call the Board of Elections (1-866-DC-VOTES) or look online.
  • Absentee ballots must be requested by June 7. The request form can be found online to be faxed or mailed. Alternatively, it may be picked up and filed in-person at 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 250 North.
  • Election Day is Tuesday, June 14. If you do not know where your assigned polling location is, call the Board of Elections (1-866-DC-VOTES) or visit their website. Remember, do not be deterred by lines. If you arrive during polling location hours on Election Day, that location must remain open until all voters have exercised their right to vote.

 


 

1. The availability of affordable housing in the District has been nearly cut in half since 2002. Low and moderate-income residents must spend high percentages of their income on rent. What specific steps would you take to make the city affordable for all of its people?

 

Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives

   Eleanor-Holmes-NortonEleanor Holmes Norton (Democrat): I support increasing federal funds for affordable housing. This year Congress passed 19.6 billion for tenant-based Section 8 housing and 4.5 billion for public housing. I also am a co-sponsor of the Fair Chance Housing Act to remove unfair barriers for people with criminal backgrounds.

Ward Two Member of the Council

Jack-EvansJack Evans (Democrat): I was one of the architects of the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPFT) on the Council and was the driving force on funding it through the deed and recordation tax, ensuring that all the buying and selling of property in D.C. would provide more resources to create and protect affordable housing. I continue to believe the HPTF is the best tool we have to maximize our resources by partnering public dollars with nonprofit and for-profit builders to create more affordable housing in D.C.. We need to be more aggressive in utilizing these dollars to create housing that is truly affordable at 0-30 percent area median income (AMI). Beyond the HPTF, I support strong rent control laws, rental assistance programs, and protection of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act as tools to help keep our city affordable. I was proud to receive the endorsement of TENAC, the leading tenants rights organization in the city, and will continue to fight to keep D.C. affordable.

Ward Four Member of the Council

GulneyCalvin H. Gurley (Democrat): Calvin H. Gurley served as a member of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Housing. As your next Ward 4 city council member, I will take the boards off all D.C.-owned housing properties and make them available to our patient residents who are on the D.C. Public Housing List. However, our residents on the Public Housing List must come to the polls and vote for Calvin H. Gurley on June 14, 2016.

Ward Seven Member of the Council

Vincent-C.-GrayVincent C. Gray (Democrat): As mayor, my administration worked to find innovative approaches to address the need for a variety of affordable housing options in the District. I appointed a Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force to develop a set of comprehensive recommendations to ensure that the District remains affordable to all who wish to live here. The results of their work were released in a report “Bridges to Opportunity” that outlined a comprehensive approach aimed at meeting the needs of District residents at a variety of income levels. My administration worked with the Task Force to implement their recommendations, which included my announcement of historic and unprecedented $100 million investment opportunities in a variety of affordable housing. I announced 47 projects in which, in the end, we invested $187 million. Overall, we invested $287 million in affordable housing and recommended that the city subsequently invest each year at least $100 million in affordable housing.

Ward Eight Member of the Council

Aaron-HolmesAaron Holmes (Democrat): If we are to preserve the economic and cultural diversity in this great city, we must increase our investment in affordable housing. $100 million is less than 1 percent of the total budget and simply not enough to safeguard the families most vulnerable to the rising cost of housing in the District. If elected, I will work to ensure that we amplify our efforts in the creation of affordable housing, with an explicit focus on those making 0–30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), many of whom live in Ward 8.

At Large Member of the Council

G.-Lee-AikenG. Lee Aikin (D.C. Statehood Green): Stop raising property taxes 10 percent or more annually on unimproved housing. Higher minimum and tipped wages. Eliminate the Basic Business License for people grossing under $250,000 a year. You cannot get a BBL if you owe the city $100 or more. Protesting an unfair ticket or mistaken OTR charge prevents getting the BBL and renting out rooms or an apartment in your home. The BBL costs more than $300 and is physically draining, as an elderly friend learned to her dismay. I would find people to help monitor the proper use of federal housing funds. I’ve written in detail on how D.C. failed over decades to spend $140,000,000 from one Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. Since HUD has five D.C. can use, how many millions were lost with the other four programs? I’ve also previously written about how Catholic University built a shipping container dormitory. A basic 8′ by 20′ unit with bath and cooking can be constructed for $35,000.

Carolina-CelnikCarolina Celnik (Republican): Affordable housing availability has decreased so much in the past 15 years because the District has not been building enough housing and has made it too expensive to build reasonably priced housing. When we cannot build enough housing to meet demand we cause affordable neighborhoods to gentrify, pricing out existing residents. To fix this we must make our planning and permitting process more transparent and streamlined, steering development towards D.C.’s northeast and southeast. We should also look into public-private partnerships, working with developers to redevelop and increase the amount of D.C.’s affordable units in return for allowing them to incorporate additional market rate units. We also have to take a serious look at our transportation system, improving our bus network to make it quicker and easier for residents to access jobs from more affordable neighborhoods.

David-GarberDavid Garber (Democrat): A comprehensive approach should focus on expanding affordable housing with each new market rate development, and do more to protect and improve the District’s public housing stock. When dealing with new marketrate development, as an at-large member of the council, I would support changes to Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) regulations so as to require developers to produce more affordable units and at deeper affordability levels. While public housing provides a tremendous amount of security to individuals and families who earn less than 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), shortfalls in federal funding have limited the D.C. Housing Authority’s ability to improve properties. Where possible, identifying nearby sites as “build first” locations can alleviate issues that arise with relocation while ensuring residents can stay in their communities. Additionally, we can improve what counts as a one-to-one replacement so that displaced residents have a right to return that works in practice.

Robert-WhiteRobert White (Democrat): I will do the following:

A) Rezone commercial corridors to add new “real” affordable housing tracts in areas with good transportation access;

B) Provide greater incentives to nonprofit developers that specialize in housing for low-income and working families;

C) Hold developers accountable for building the required number of affordable units in new construction;

D) Fight for tenants who have been victimized by slumlords;

E) Prohibit the sale of tax liens to private parties that unethically push to steal properties from low-to-moderate income homeowners.


 

2. The city unemployment rate has decreased from 7.1 percent last year to 6.4 percent now, meaning there are still 24,700 unemployed members of the D.C. civilian labor force. As of January, an estimated 47 percent of single homeless adults and 32 percent of homeless adults in families were employed. What specific steps would you take to make training opportunities and higher paying jobs available to all District residents who want to work?

 

Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives

Eleanor-Holmes-NortonEleanor Holmes Norton (Democrat): I am a strong supporter of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for a total of $3,335, billion for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Most D.C. training funds come from this federal law. As one of the four leaders who wrote the recently signed surface transportation bill for roads, bridges and transit, I was able to get $14 million for workforce training.

Ward Two Member of the Council

Jack-EvansJack Evans (Democrat): I have long championed job creating projects in the District, particularly projects that prioritize District worker participation and strong union agreements. I’m particularly proud of the arrangement we put together to build the convention center hotel that created hospitality job training programs for District residents and employs hundreds of District residents from entry-level through management jobs. This project was a success because it created a pipeline of job training to actual jobs in the District. I’ll continue to support programs and projects that help prepare all D.C. citizens for gainful employment and prioritize D.C. residents for jobs whenever tax dollars are being spent.

Ward Four Member of the Council

GulneyCalvin H. Gurley (Democrat): Help me to help you. Our unemployed must come to the voting polls on June 14, 2016 to vote for Calvin H. Gurley so I can re-open Vocational High School to offer and give apprenticeships to our young business students in the fields of auto mechanic, plumbing, electrician, carpentry, welding, barbering, hotel hospitality and nursing.

Ward Seven Member of the Council

Vincent-C.-GrayVincent C. Gray (Democrat): As mayor, I revitalized the dormant Workforce Investment Council, I worked to restructure and improve The Department of Employment Services (DOES), as illustrated by the One City, One Hire program. Additionally, Career and Technical Academies currently operate out of virtually all high schools in the District. They allow for workforce development to provide opportunities for our young people to develop the skills that will prepare them for 21st century careers and compete for jobs in our fastest-growing sectors. Currently, three areas are focused upon, including information technology, hospitality and construction/engineering areas where jobs are developing rapidly in the District. I will continue to support these programs and funding for these programs, which I believe will ultimately result in more employable and higher paid District residents. I supported the minimum wage increase and fought for a $10 minimum, as mayor, but the Council voted for $9.50. Further, I support the currently considered increase to $15.

Ward Eight Member of the Council

Aaron-HolmesAaron Holmes (Democrat): Unemployment and literacy rates in Ward 8 are issues that demand vocal support from the council. If elected, I will dedicate time and resources to raising awareness around this issue. D.C. is an opportunity-rich environment that provides ample openings for intergenerational social mobility and we must prepare all of our residents to take advantage. Skills development, for residents at all levels, expands access for the residents of Ward 8.

At Large Member of the Council

G.-Lee-AikenG. Lee Aikin (D.C. Statehood Green): We need immediate efforts to determine local business employment requirements. See question #3 answers. The BBL, see question #1, makes starting any small/home business a nightmare. A required 2 or 3 hour course in proper tax payments shrinks the argument that people are not paying their self-employment taxes. Vacant businesses could receive city incentives for allowing regular flea markets, even with dedicated kiosks, until development of the property is feasible, like Skyland in Ward 7. Recently, I shared the shipping container idea in question #1 with a Baltimore Green Party mayoral candidate. Baltimore’s many used containers can cost from $2,000 to $4,000. He proposed a cooperative business providing employment in both cities for selecting, prepping, and shipping, from Baltimore, to designing, constructing and erecting in D.C.. Skills in metal work, building, heavy equipment use, interior design, carpentry, plumbing and electrical could all be taught. Many seniors need trained homecare/nursing help.

Carolina-CelnikCarolina Celnik (Republican): Even though D.C.’s unemployment rate has decreased to 6.4 percent in the past few years, it’s still far above the national rate of 5 percent. This is a direct result of the fact that over the past 10 years D.C.’s GDP growth has averaged a paltry 1.2 percent and over the past 5 years its GDP per capita has actually decreased. We need to make the District more competitive for private sector growth, creating a regionally competitive tax and regulatory climate. D.C.’s income tax, commercial property tax, and corporate tax are all significantly higher than both Maryland and Virginia, making it harder for the city to sell itself as a good place to start or build a business. We must work with businesses to spread job growth throughout the city, especially east of the river, and pair with job training programs to ensure local residents can take advantage of these opportunities.

David-GarberDavid Garber (Democrat): As we experience economic growth in the District, it is important to measure our overall success by how we reduce economic inequality. While many policymakers focus on providing millions of dollars to manage homelessness, it is important that we do more to address the root causes of homelessness. Investing in housing solutions so that people who are experiencing homelessness have a pathway to permanent housing will be a priority of mine as your at-large councilmember. Additionally, increasing the economic security through employment assistance and job training will go a long way to reduce the likelihood of returning to homelessness.

Robert-WhiteRobert White (Democrat): I am incredibly angry that my opponent, Vincent Orange, has failed to do his job on the council. He is responsible for oversight of the jobs program, and he has failed us all. There are TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in federal job training grants that are at risk of being pulled from the District because of mismanagement and a failure to put the funds to use. Those dollars could be used to give the unemployed, and underemployed, new skills that help them get back on their feet. But Vincent Orange hasn’t done the work. IF you elect me, I promise to spend that money and work tirelessly to turn the jobs program around. I want to help you get the skills you need to be qualified for the kind of jobs you want, and the kind of stability that will get you on your feet.


 

3. Just over 50,000 District residents above the age of 25 do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Even more read below functional literacy levels. These segments of the District’s population are disproportionately unemployed and systematically left out of the economic development of the city. What specific steps would you take to help adults in D.C. bridge that opportunity gap now, and to help youth avoid it in the future?

 

Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives

Eleanor-Holmes-NortonEleanor Holmes Norton (Democrat): See answer for question number two.

 

 

 

Ward Two Member of the Council

Jack-EvansJack Evans (Democrat): The job training programs we put in place with the convention center hotel focused on both job skills and life skills to help as many District residents as possible. We need to ensure we create employment training and adult learning programs that address the entire scope of skills that a person needs to learn to get and keep a job. Expanding the Summer Youth Employment Program to include people up to the age of 24 is one way that we have done that. But we need to ensure we are providing a variety of social services, educational opportunities, and technical skill training to help adults in our city today that struggle to find a job and to ensure our children have a strong support system for their future.

Ward Four Member of the Council

GulneyCalvin H. Gurley (Democrat): As the next Ward 4 councilmember I am willing to do all that I and my office can give to help turn around the life and career of all District residents who want to better themselves. But, our residents must be able to change their belief system, to begin to value themselves and be willing to become disciplined for the requirements of job training and to do well on the job.

Ward Seven Member of the Council

Vincent-C.-GrayVincent C. Gray (Democrat): I believe huge factors in closing the gap are proper job training and education. As previously discussed, I revitalized the dormant Workforce Investment Council and worked to restructure and improve DOES, via the One City, One Hire program. Additionally, Career and Technical Academies currently operate out of virtually all high schools in the District. They allow for workforce development to provide opportunities for our young people to develop the skills that will prepare them for 21st century careers and compete for jobs in our fastest-growing sectors. I believe that my focus on improving public education, especially early childhood education, will offer current youth a better opportunity to integrate themselves into the fabric – and perhaps most importantly the economy – of the District. We have the most robust early childhood education program in the nation, 80 percent of our 3-year olds and 90 percent of 4 year-olds attend school all day, everyday.

Ward Eight Member of the Council

Aaron-HolmesAaron Holmes (Democrat): By any measure, the opportunity gap between educated and undereducated residents is real. We must take meaningful steps to expand access for the latter. If elected, I will work to improve collaboration between our workforce development and business communities. We must ensure that we invest in companies and development that invest in our residents.

At Large Member of the Council

G.-Lee-AikenG. Lee Aikin (D.C. Statehood Green): My dyslexic son needed special education. Having observed this with both my son and my brother, I think early education needs to be handled differently for people living with dyslexia. Why waste many hours annually teaching reading until the eye is ready to do it? (For my son and brother, around fifth grade.) Other skills can be emphasized, allowing a feeling of success rather than failure. Although they both were unsuccessful in school, they are now very good at specialty construction and renovation. Recently, an employment expert said the most important thing to teach is to show up on time with a smile on your face. We need strong programs of high school vocational education for the modern economy and technological world, as well as useful adult education programs and childcare options. Rather than close a large number of schools in Ward 7 and 8, repurpose them for these uses.

Carolina-CelnikCarolina Celnik (Republican): Far too many people in D.C. do not have a high school diploma or do not perform proficiently in the core subjects of reading, writing and math. People without these qualifications find it far harder to find work and get promoted at work. First, we must support and expand our programs to help adult students to receive their high school equivalency. Next, we have to ensure we can attract and retain top teachers, paying them appropriately for their talent and success in the classroom. We also have to support our school choice programs, allowing families to have a say in where their children go to school. Our charter schools have shown how flexibility can be used to innovate and tailor their teaching to their students; we should look into granting some of these tools to our traditional public schools and allowing them to learn from our charters’ success.

David-GarberDavid Garber (Democrat): As your at-large councilmember, I will work to provide additional funding for engagement services that create a network of core supports to reduce poverty. Placing an emphasis on targeted funding for education, particularly for youth who have been incarcerated or who are under the jurisdiction of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, will reduce the number of youth and young adults who do not have a high school diploma or GED. Having a high school diploma gives people an opportunity to pursue higher education and workforce training and will ultimately lead to steady employment.

Robert-WhiteRobert White (Democrat): I want to see a D.C. that is inclusive with all of our residents having a chance to participate in what we see happening around us. First, I think we need more and better temporary housing. Second, we need the jobs program working and those funds flowing to help our adults with basic skills and specialized skills – those skills need to match the jobs available now. In other words, we need to get you into a secure home and establish a stable work environment. For our children, we need to make sure that schools are providing the wrap-around services for the child and the family. And we need to expand the healthy meal programs, too. If we want our kids to learn, we have to make sure that there is more stability in the home – and that they have a home – and that their basic needs are met. Finally, we have to invest more money into adult literacy and programs, like the Washington Literacy Center, that teach adults to read and help them participate in our job market.


 

4. There are virtually no public restrooms that are clean, safe and open 24/7 in the District of Columbia. For people with nowhere else to “go,” this can lead to personal distress and embarrassment, dirty streets, or tension between people experiencing homelessness and private business owners/staff. What specific steps would you take to provide for the immediate, basic needs of our most vulnerable residents until city services can provide dignified shelters and exit people more quickly into housing?

 

Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives

Eleanor-Holmes-NortonEleanor Holmes Norton (Democrat): This is a question for the District of Columbia government. There is no federal jurisdiction.

 

Ward Two Member of the Council

Jack-EvansJack Evans (Democrat): I strongly support the Mayor’s plan to build shelters in each ward across the city. It will help close DC General, but it will also help to create more places for support and service to individuals facing homelessness across our city. I support the idea of a daytime shelter in downtown that will provide public restrooms and other facilities to individuals during the day. I support the idea of more public restrooms for individuals who are homeless, tourists, and anyone else who needs to use them, and I will work with my colleagues to find ways to make this happen.

Ward Four Member of the Council

GulneyCalvin H. Gurley (Democrat): Our homeless neighbors must register to vote and come to the polls and select the candidate they hope for and believe will work for their best interest. That candidate is Calvin H. Gurley in Ward 4. Why would the current elected officials spend taxpayers dollars to service them if the homeless do not vote? REMEMBER, “if you don’t VOTE then you don’t count” in the minds of elected officials. The most powerful and respected document or piece of currency that anyone—including people experiencing homelessness— can have in the District of Columbia is a voter’s registration CARD. YOU MUST VOTE to get RESPECT here in the District of Columbia. VOTE for Calvin H. Gurley, your next Ward 4 councilmember..

Ward Seven Member of the Council

Vincent-C.-GrayVincent C. Gray (Democrat): As mayor I focused on increasing stable, long-term housing arrangements, since emergency shelter must be the last resort. I introduced a plan to further improve our system for serving homeless individuals and families. This plan included moving homeless individuals from shelter to housing more quickly, re-introducing provisional shelter legislation to allow for alternative housing arrangements when appropriate and continuing to invest in affordable housing. As Councilmember, I will continue to support the yearly $100 million dollar investment into developing and maintaining affordable housing in the District. I will work to try to make more public restrooms available especially in downtown areas and by making shelter restrooms available during the 7am to 7pm period when they are typically closed.

Ward Eight Member of the Council

Aaron-HolmesAaron Holmes (Democrat): The safety of the District’s residents should be the priority of all elected officials. If elected, I will support the council’s efforts to stand up facilities befitting residents of the District. However, the lack of access to stable housing is putting a tremendous strain on our current structure and must take priority if smaller facilities are to be effective.

At Large Member of the Council

G.-Lee-AikenG. Lee Aikin (D.C. Statehood Green): I have heard horror stories about conditions inside the few public restrooms available. With modern technology, it should be possible to better monitor safety and health conditions there. A simple button, “bathroom needs service” would help. Proper funding to clean and maintain is needed. Meanwhile, I would propose emergency legislation to fund Jiffy Johns for placement in strategic locations until more permanent fixes are made. Local people could be paid a small fee to help monitor. Naturally, I would like input from those most in need of these services. I might need to go out on the street for personal interviews. A business willing to allow placement of a portable john on their grounds (in alley for example) could get a tax benefit. If on an appropriate committee, I would ask to hold a hearing. If not, I would encourage another committee to do so.

Carolina-CelnikCarolina Celnik (Republican): Having no 24/7 public restrooms in D.C. is a big problem. Our city’s homeless should be able to have dependable toilet and bathroom access and not need to rely on private businesses and staff. I would support looking into providing 24/7 restroom and shower access at select public buildings throughout the District. However, I still believe the bigger issue is that these people do not have shelter where they would be able to receive more consistent restroom, educational, and medical access. People with more consistent medical access have less need to visit the emergency room which is a far more expensive form of care than a doctor’s appointment. We also need to improve the job training and educational resources available to our homeless and shelter population to give them the tools to get a job that will allow them to move into their own housing.

David-GarberDavid Garber (Democrat): Individuals who have access to bathrooms take for granted the perks of indoor plumbing. The inability to use public restrooms is embarrassing and creates a potential public health crisis. While I have never personally experienced homelessness, I want to make sure that individuals without shelter have appropriate bathroom facilities available 24/7. Providing 24/7 bathroom access will help reduce some of the stigmas that people who do not experience homelessness have towards those who do.

Robert-WhiteRobert White (Democrat): I am 100 percent supportive of dignified shelters with private bathrooms. While there is a lot of attention being given to this issue, I want to see the progress happen faster. And there needs to be more interim options. We talk about closing D.C. General, we talk about the timeline required to get shelters established across the city, but we are not talking about how we can make short-term steps. If elected, I would propose a short-term bill that created more bathrooms and shower facilities that could open fast, and I would propose short-term housing that would begin to move people into clean, safe, dignified environments at a much faster rate than the big plan that is under development.


 

5. Since the year 2000, the areas of Columbia Heights–Mt. Pleasant, Petworth–Brightwood Park, and Union Station–Stanton Park have each seen 5,000 to 6,000 Black Americans move away. During that same time period, the areas where Black Americans moved out and areas where Whites Americans moved in are roughly the same. What specific steps would you take to curb gentrification and provide equal opportunity across the city?

 

Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives

Eleanor-Holmes-NortonEleanor Holmes Norton (Democrat): This is a question for the District of Columbia government, but see my answer for question two.

 

Ward Two Member of the Council

Jack-EvansJack Evans (Democrat): I have sponsored and supported nearly every piece of legislation on the council that lowers property taxes for seniors, individuals who are struggling to keep up with the increased home values in D.C. and all residents in the District. I represented the Shaw community on the council for many people, and we have an expression in Shaw in light of the influx of new residents to D.C. — “if you were here during the tough times, you deserve to stay in the good times.” The city is stronger when we have a diversity of residents and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the D.C. government does everything possible to support individuals and families that have lived in D.C. so that they are able to stay in D.C. if they choose.

Ward Four Member of the Council

GulneyCalvin H. Gurley (Democrat): Our Seniors who are homeowners and on fixed incomes must come out to the polls and vote for Calvin H. Gurley so he can protect their homes from high property tax increases. The District government will also sell some of its properties to low-income and working class income District residents.

Ward Seven Member of the Council

Vincent-C.-GrayVincent C. Gray (Democrat): A big piece of ensuring equal opportunity across the city is creating economic development, transportation and safety measures in all parts of the District. Quality schools, proper job training and opportunities are all needed to keep residents in the District. Further, we must take the necessary steps to improve Metro so that residents have reliable transportation between District neighborhoods, particularly on the East End, and large employment hubs. Neighborhood growth is necessary, but ensuring residents are able to remain and thrive is the key to true growth in the District. We need to systematically identify those factors that account for people moving out and seek to solve those issues. One example is a law that I funded in my last year as mayor that would have eliminated property taxes for major parts of our senior population in the city. Despite the obvious merits, the council chose not to approve it.

Ward Eight Member of the Council

Aaron-HolmesAaron Holmes (Democrat): D.C. needs to make a commitment to affordable housing! $100 million spread across the city is not enough to fortify long term residents of SE & NE who have traditionally been renters. If elected, I will fight for the long term residents of this great city.

At Large Member of the Council

G.-Lee-AikenG. Lee Aikin (D.C. Statehood Green): D.C. raises entire neighborhoods’ property taxes 10 percent or more annually. When one or two high-priced houses sell with granite counters, stainless appliances, etc. — landlords raise rents. Tax assessments should increase only with inflation, except with major improvements and high sale price. Council should immediately allow the federal Deductions & Exemptions rates putting $85,000,000 back in our pockets annually, not wait until 2020. Make 1 or 2 percent tax increases in upper brackets if needed—not tax cuts—to cover cost. I’ve written about our tax situation in detail, including the improved D-40 and Schedule H, which allows up to $1,000 annual tax pay back. Insist D.C. publicize this benefit, not hide it. Require low-cost and affordable units in new construction, so developers compete on equal ground. Trump’s father got wealthy building blue and white collar housing. Support our builders willing to do that.

Carolina-CelnikCarolina Celnik (Republican): One of the great strengths of D.C. is our communities and neighborhoods. As the city grows, we need to balance continued change with the desire to protect the character and fabric of our neighborhoods. The best way to do this would be to make sure we are able to build enough housing to keep up with demand, so the existing housing stock is not gentrified and remains affordable for residents. The District also needs to improve its bus network, more quickly and reliably connecting residents to job centers. Better bus service has a proven track record of increasing income and opportunities for residents without gentrifying the area.

David-GarberDavid Garber (Democrat): Expanding our inclusionary zoning laws, increasing the stock of affordable housing and increasing density requirements will help to curb gentrification by providing individuals with affordable housing options. Additionally, raising the minimum wage and investing in our minority-owned businesses will help create the economic stability and opportunity for individuals to reside in the communities they know and have grown up in. Focusing on policies that ensure people are able to share in the economic prosperity in their communities will help fight against gentrification, and will be my priority as a member of the D.C. Council.

Robert-WhiteRobert White (Democrat): I live in Brightwood Park. My wife and I moved here five years ago. We’re African-American and we are a part of the changing neighborhoods. I support growth and change, but not at the expense of people being priced out of their neighborhoods or of African-Americans largely being unable to afford home ownership. What I want to do is create more opportunities for everyone to be included. I want more affordable housing and more funding toward home-ownership programs, like the Home Purchase Assistance Program. And I want better oversight and administration of the jobs program, so our people can move themselves forward. I want to see improved stability in our low and moderate-income families. With stability and real economic progress, I believe our schools will finally improve because the parents will be able to invest time and energy in their children, instead of struggling between hourly jobs if they can even find them. My father is the biggest fan of D.C., and he can’t afford to live here anymore. That’s wrong. I want to fix it.

 


 

UPDATE: Council-member Vincent Orange submitted responses to Street Sense’s questions on 06.06.2016.

  1. Because affordable housing is getting more difficult to secure, I introduced the D.C. Affordable Housing Act that develops a ten-year, $1 Billion affordable housing plan to keep housing affordable for lower income residents, senior citizens, and the homeless. I also introduced legislation called the Millennial Tiny Housing Initiative that requires constructing 125 tiny homes in each Ward according to specified requirements, inclusive of design, utility, and cost considerations.
  2. I am very supportive of apprentice programs because I believe these programs can facilitate career pathways for D.C. residents. I introduced a Bill entitled the “Youth Apprenticeship Advisory Committee”. The legislation creates the Committee in DOES and shall consist of 9 members that must evaluate the effectiveness of youth apprenticeship programs.
  3. Some of the services I am working on include free tuition for D.C. residents to earn Associate Degrees at the University of the District of Columbia Community College and providing high school diplomas to D.C. adults who pass the GED test. Once we have free tuition, I will work with DCPS to ensure that students are properly informed about what is available to them.
  4. I introduced a bill that establishes a Mobile Hygiene Pilot Program within the Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide a mobile unit that travels within the District of Columbia and provides shower and bathroom facilities to homeless individuals. The pilot shall be implemented within 120 days of the effective date of the legislation and continue for 24 months. DHS and the Interagency Council on Homelessness shall submit a report to the Mayor and the Council on the pilot program. This bill currently has seven cosponsors.Additionally, I am supporting a bill that provides free diapers and feminine hygiene products to homeless families and individuals and I am pursuing repurposing parking meters to accept donations to fund homeless initiatives.
  5. The residents of Columbia Heights – Mt. Pleasant, Petworth, Brightwood, Shepherd Park and Union Station – Stanton Park have been experiencing gentrification. They can be both positively and negatively affected. I believe it is great that young families are moving in, but I do not think that long-time residents should be forced out of their homes. I believe we need to provide avenues for District residents to obtain employment and earn a decent living in order to remain in the city. Some of my initiatives include championing bringing the minimum wage of $11.50 per hour and the living wage of $13.85 per hour. Additionally, I am seeking $500 million annually of D.C. Government procurement of foods and services from D.C. Small Business Enterprises.