Councilmember Muriel Bowser (photo credit)
Congratulations to D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, winner of the Democratic primary for Mayor of the District of Columbia. In choosing Councilmember Bowser over scandal-ridden incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray, the voters of the District of Columbia have made a loud and clear statement about their expectations for ethics and integrity in public leadership.
Special cheers for Muriel Bowser as a women’s college graduate — she was a History major at Chatham in Pittsburgh! — and one of the great Catholic girls’ schools of the Washington region, Elizabeth Seton High School! Girls’ schools and women’s colleges continue to educate powerful leaders!
Sour grapes statements from the Gray camp claim that U.S. Attorney Ron Machen is responsible for Gray’s loss. Really? That’s so insulting to D.C. voters. In fact, The People have sent the message that they are sick and tired of the corruption, the sleazy deals, the sight of elected officials in handcuffs and prison jump suits. The People are tired of being let down by politicians they once trusted. Rather than blaming the prosecutor for doing his job, Mayor Gray needs to own the idea that, regardless of his personal guilt or innocence in the Jeffrey Thompson affair, the city and the citizens suffer when the government is consumed with corruption cases.
The general election for the Mayor’s Office is still many months away, in November. Until then, Candidate Bowser will have to continue to work very hard to let voters get to know her more completely, to know her positions and talents. Additionally, other candidates are likely to step forward, including Councilmember David Catania, so there may well be a hot contest for the ultimate election.
Citizens of D.C. must become more engaged as well — low voter turnout does not serve anyone’s interests in our city. 40 years after enacting Home Rule for D.C., some members of Congress still act like this city is a small fiefdom on which they can impose their narrow views (even though most would not be able to find their way to Franklin Street or Benning Road or Mississippi Avenue). Behaviors that weaken the case for Home Rule — low voter turnout, corruption among city officials — do not advance the cause of full empowerment for D.C. citizens.
Congratulations to Councilmember Bowser, and also to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and all of the other winners in yesterday’s primary election! And thanks to all for taking on the considerable responsibilities of public leadership on our behalf.