Six candidates for Ward 2 DC Council gathered in Dupont last month with hundreds of voters for a forum to kick off the 2020 election season. JUFJ co-hosted the forum along with the DC Working Families Party, DC for Democracy, and others.
Notably absent from the stage was current Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, who has yet to file for reelection. Despite his absence, Evans was the elephant in the room.
The candidates each tried to distinguish themselves both in terms of ending corruption and in pursuing a more economically and racially just agenda on the Council. On stage were:
- John Fanning, a long-time Logan Circle ANC commissioner and DC government staffer
- Jordan Grossman, a former Obama staffer with family roots in DC who has also worked for DC government
- Daniel Hernandez, a Marine veteran who now works in the private sector for Microsoft
- Patrick Kennedy, an ANC commissioner in Foggy Bottom
- Kishan Putta, an ANC commissioner in Burleith and former Council candidate
- Yilin Zhang, a health care worker
The field of challengers agreed on many issues and highlighted the need to address the housing affordability crisis, transportation equity, and corruption in DC government. Notable areas of disagreement were on the issues of constituent service funds, decriminalization of sex work, and reshaping DC’s tax code to fight inequality. It was clear from the turnout and audience reactions that there is appetite for a major change of direction in Ward 2. Each challenger was asked if they would step aside if it became clear their candidacy wasn’t viable.
All six challengers are planning to participate in DC’s Fair Elections program. Fair Elections helps candidates who rely on small donations from DC residents (instead of corporations, PACs, and mega-donors) compete in expensive races. JUFJ helped campaign for the Fair Elections legislation and has encouraged all candidates for office to participate in it.
Dan Essrow is a member of JUFJ’s Birth-to-Three DC core team.