Public safety and schools. These two issues are critical to the health of any city and are a big reason why the District of Columbia has rebounded from the tough times of the 1990s to thrive. Mayor Anthony Williams (D) overhauled police and beefed up city services; Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) reformed schools.
As the district once again emerges from difficult times – an unprecedented pandemic that has upended every aspect of life in the city – these areas have taken on renewed importance and, as before, the future of the city will depend on the actions of the person chosen by the voters. as the next mayor. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) provided capable and stable leadership, made all the more remarkable by the fact that a year into his second term, the global covid-19 pandemic struck. His sure answer — executing a virtually overnight city shutdown, setting up testing and quarantine sites, overseeing a vaccination effort with high turnout, navigating a DC reopening that handed over students in the classroom – makes her uniquely qualified to continue leading the city as it seeks to recover from the struggles of the past two years. In addition to her deft handling of the pandemic, Ms. Bowser can point to success in reducing homelessness, investing in affordable housing and – no small feat – standing up to the president of at the time, Donald Trump, and his threats against the city.
Ms. Bowser faces challenges from two DC Council members — At-Large member Robert C. White Jr. and Ward 8 member Trayon White Sr. — and a third opponent, former Ward Commissioner 5 James Butler, during the June 21 Democratic primary. Robert White has done admirable work on behalf of returning citizens, and Trayon White has been a strong advocate for underserved residents east of the river. But neither is equipped to meet the challenges ahead, and they are on the wrong side of critical public safety and school issues. Both voted to cut funding for the police – despite protests from the mayor. Trayon White is in favor of removing the mayor’s control over schools, and Robert White’s confusing and sometimes contradictory responses on the subject should be cause for concern.
Third terms can be perilous for mayors. Ms Bowser said she was aware of this and would guard against complacency and obsolescence. She has to take some of her administration’s criticism to heart — like how she botched the operation of her forensic lab and turned a blind eye to DC prison conditions. Her relationships with other parts of government – the council and the attorney general – need to be repaired, and we urge Ms Bowser, if re-elected, to take the first step. But, third terms can also be times when great things happen when mayors have the knowledge and experience to solve problems and take on initiatives they might not have attempted during their tenure. first or second term. We have confidence in Ms. Bowser and urge voters to re-elect her.