A Year of Great Promise

Posted by Kesh Ladduwahetty, DC for Democracy Chair

DC4D Members celebrate following the first vote for the Fair Elections Act of 207 (left); CM David Grosso speaks at DC4D January Meetup (right).
DC4D Members celebrate following the first vote for the Fair Elections Act of 207 (left); CM David Grosso speaks at DC4D January Meetup (right).

We’re not even two weeks into this year and 2018 is already turning out to hold great promise! On Tuesday, January 9th the DC Council passed the Fair Elections Act unanimously and with only minor friendly amendments. This was beyond all expectations. After the vote, we celebrated with At-Large Councilmember David Grosso, who had introduced the bill and shaped the legislation over the last four years. He also joined us last night for a very interesting discussion that spanned Fair Elections, paid family leave, numerous education issues (including mayoral control of schools), the DC public bank, and universal basic income, to mention a few.

The Fair Elections campaign is not over. Critics of the legislation are still pushing back — listen to Ericka Taylor on the Kojo show today. Also, after the second Council vote in February (which we hope will be uncontroversial), the important work will begin to fully fund and implement the bill.

Still, we should pause to acknowledge this enormous victory for both the People of DC and for DC4D. Our members have invested hugely in this campaign for four long years, volunteering countless hours to gather petition signatures, talk to voters, pester Councilmembers, testify at hearings and present at community meetings. There are too many people for me to mention by name, but I do want to acknowledge a few DC4D volunteers who stand front and center in this campaign:

  • Dan Wedderburn and Jeremy Koulish, who played key roles, particularly in the critical early stages of forming the DC Fair Elections coalition
  • Chelsea Rudman and Irma Salley, who worked hard to win the support of key community leaders in Ward 5
  • John Zottoli, the campaign field director, who helped organize a wide variety of campaign events in every part of the city
  • Dexter Williams, the campaign lead in Ward 7, who deserves a lot of credit for winning Councilmember Gray’s vote
  • Zach Schalk, who in his short time at DC4D has emerged as a leading voice of the campaign

And of course, this campaign would be nowhere without the dedication and talents of DC4D members who also work as staff for allied organizations: Aquene Freechild (Public Citizen), Mat Hanson (DC Working Families), Ericka Taylor (ONE DC), and Zach Weinstein and Raquel Jackson-Stone (national Working Families).