For a school that prides itself on taking an active part in local communities through service and activism, Georgetown students show a surprising lack of interest in D.C. politics. Yet, as D.C. residents for at least four years, Georgetown students have a compelling stake in local issues that affect everyone who lives here.
This election year, for those who are registered to vote, the choice is clear. After considering each candidate’s public records and platforms, the Voice decided to endorse Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) for his unrivaled record on ethics, his strong plan for the future of D.C. schools, and his tireless work to curtail the effects of the drug war.
While incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray would otherwise have a strong case for reelection given the city’s steadily improving finances, schools, and employment rate, the mayor’s alleged involvement in multiple instances of corruption casts doubt on his ability to lead. Three of Gray’s campaign officials have pleaded guilty to charges relating to corruption, bringing to light the existence of an illegal $650,000 “shadow campaign” to elect Gray, funded by Jeffrey Thompson, a prominent businessman with sizable city contracts. Having failed to adequately address the corruption that took part around him—or, more likely, that he organized—Gray is unfit to keep the office he holds. Conversely, Tommy Wells is the only candidate who refuses to take corporate contributions and who has never received money from Jeffrey Thompson.
On education, too, Wells leads the pack. As a former social worker, Wells understands the problems the D.C. schools face. Serving on the D.C. Board of Education, Wells orchestrated programs that made Capitol Hill area elementary schools some of the best in the District. Asked for specifics on her education plan, leading contender Muriel Bowser only offers vague promises, such as “Alice Deal for all,” referring to one of D.C.’s best middle schools. Wells has rightly labeled such rhetoric as a “slogan, not a plan” and would bring oversight of schools into the mayor’s office.
Additionally, Wells boasts endorsements from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws for his sponsorship of marijuana decriminalization in the Council. He’s further expressed support for enacting a regulatory scheme for recreational cannabis should D.C. vote to legalize it in November—the next step in curtailing the harmful effects of the failed drug war.
The mayoral election presents the most significant opportunity for communities to effect change on a local level. We encourage students to participate in this election if they are registered and strongly consider registering to vote in D.C. for future elections.
On every issue, Wells is passionate, principled, and prepared to lead with an honesty that is uncommon among D.C. politicians. We urge our readers to cast their ballots for him in the Democratic primary on April 1.