DC Council candidate forum takeaways

Graphic by Bruna Costa

The People for Fairness Coalition (PFFC) held a candidate forum and anniversary celebration on May 8. Attendees spoke with advocates and candidates ahead of the June 4 primary election. Here are reflections from vendors who organized the event.

Nikila Smith

The candidates came out swinging, uppercuts. I had to bob and weave so I wouldn’t get hit. They were passionate, just as passionate as I was about my policy. I choose questions that would help me better understand how people are seen through others’ eyes. Like guaranteed income, why is it that singles don’t receive guaranteed income and families do? If people need money to live, then why are singles treated less than and given less? I asked this question to Robert White and Rodney Grant, running for at-large councilmember. My opinion is the language that was spoken was meant to fit who was listening. I will also say we are all humans who can be unpredictable when we want something. I didn’t make that line up; I’m just using it.

Some candidates did not show up because they had other things to do, but our vote matters. The thing I was most irritated with was the not knowing and pointing fingers. We want to help, we don’t get paid to give you our ideas. Listening to policies that can better our community is a good start. We attended the DC Justice Lab to prepare for this fight and we had some pretty good coaches. We are not throwing in the towel and neither should you.

Rachelle Ellison

I attended the DC Justice Lab Policy Academy, and the policy I worked on is the universal right to housing. We at PFFC believe every unhoused individual deserves a place to call home. We believe that safe, affordable housing should be a right and not a privilege. This is a racial equity issue. We must reverse the effects of gentrification and displacement here in D.C. We need more affordable housing. D.C. is short 32,900 rental homes for extremely low-income residents. It’s said 73% of low-income residents choose among healthy foods, health care and paying rent. Ninety people died last year unhoused and 57 were matched to a voucher.

Our solution is to make the Housing Production Trust Fund meet its target goals. We should also develop a universal housing subsidy system to ensure vulnerable populations can achieve the stability to succeed. In addition to housing subsidies, we are in support of public, social, and cooperative housing. I talked about these issues and proposals at the candidate’s forum. I wanted to ask “What would your plan be to rebuild public housing/social housing infrastructure?” I also wanted to ask about timing vouchers based on returning citizens’ release dates from prison, so resources are already in place. I believe the forum was a success overall for our 16-year anniversary celebration.

Issues |Political commentary

Region |Washington DC

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