September 17, 2014 at 10:13 am EDT | by Lane Hudson
Catania is the candidate with the experience to succeed
David Catania, Washington D.C., District of Columbia, D.C. Council, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A conversation I have had repeatedly since the Democratic mayoral primary goes something like this:

 

Voter: “Can David Catania really win?”

Me: “That depends on how many votes he gets.”

Voter: “But a Democrat has always won.”

Me: “It starts with you. Do you want to stand by and cast your vote for a flawed Democratic nominee or would you rather be a part of changing minds so that people feel empowered to cast their votes for the most experienced and qualified candidate for mayor?”

Voter: “You may be right. Muriel Bowser isn’t really ready for the job.”

 

It doesn’t take an accomplished historian to know that the District has never elected a white mayor, a non-Democratic one or an openly gay one. A David Catania victory would defy history in multiple ways.

But most people will not be looking to make history with their vote. Instead, they will want to cast their vote with the hope that our city will be led by someone who can continue the progress we have seen on many fronts under Mayors Williams, Fenty and Gray. Under these three mayors, we have seen unprecedented revitalization, progress in education, increased professionalization of our government, expansion of healthcare and many other improvements.

The choice in this election is about trust. Who can you trust to do what they say? On the campaign trail, Catania often says, “trust is certainty based on past behavior.” This is why the records of these two candidates are very important.

Between the two major candidates in the race for mayor the difference in their experience and qualifications could not be starker. David Catania used his time as chair of the Health Committee to pass smoke-free D.C., slashed the rate of the uninsured, focused like a laser on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and much more.

As chair of the Education Committee, he has visited more than 140 schools to speak directly with students, teachers, parents and administrators. He has worked to extend college scholarships, end social promotion, secure additional funding for at-risk students, and focus on middle school improvement, among other things.

Contrast this solid record of accomplishment with the record of Muriel Bowser. She points to a very weak ethics bill and free bus rides for school students as the fruit of her seven years on the Council. In a recent interview, she indicated her belief that providing constituent services prepared her to be mayor and her Facebook page is full of posts that begin with, “As mayor, Muriel will…,” instead of enumerating what Muriel has actually done.

As chair of the Committee on Economic Development, she has no accomplishment to tout. When I ask someone to tell me about a time she has shown leadership on an issue, I hear crickets.

Take into consideration the issue of affordable housing. Catania recently intervened to save a building in Chinatown that a developer was seeking to convert from 302 affordable housing units to high-end real estate. While this was happening, Bowser was refusing to hold a hearing about the mishandling of well over $1 million by managers of Park Southern, a building of 360-unit affordable housing units. The managers are prominent supporters of Bowser’s mayoral campaign.

D.C. stands on the brink. We have suffered through so many politicians and their supporters who have been incredibly selfish. More than a few are in jail. The choice that we have to make in this election is important.

For me, making that decision rests on which candidate I can trust the most, judging on the certainty I can expect from their past actions. On this measure, there is far more trust I can place in David Catania. He is the only candidate for mayor that has the experience to step into the position and continue the progress our city deserves.

Lane Hudson is a D.C.-based writer and activist.

10 Comments
  • For slightly different reasons, I thoroughly agree with Lane. But many of us Dems, in every corner of the city, have been voting for, and have been inspired by David Catania’s leadership qualities and activism for many years now.

    We know that David has ALWAYS been there for us… through thick and thin, at the top of his legislative craft, championing our rights and tirelessly seeking respect for DC’s LGBT residents and businesses.
     
    We know, too, that David is the best-qualified person across the full spectrum of urban issues to be DC’s next mayor. David has never shirked or ‘coasted’ with the Council Committee assignments he’s been given. Indeed, David Catania has embraced them all, so as to better understand peoples’ problems and challenges. Then David sets about to methodically improve their lives, surprising many along the way.

    This is serious leadership, people. Watching Ken Burns’ documentary of the ‘Roosevelts’ this week, it’s fascinating to see how great leadership nearly always transcends party labels. David Catnia’s progressive leadership transcends party labels, too.

    All that’s left, for many of us, is to make Catania’s election as mayor really happen. Let’s be as dogged as David. And let’s resolve now to get out to vote ASAP. Persuading loved ones, neighbors and friends to join us will help too.

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  • David Catania has proven himself time and time again. Unlike his main opponent, he doesn’t sway with the breeze. He listens first, then he researches the data, investigates all sides of an issue, and only then does he pursue the outcome he thinks is best. He has a skill for grasping the details of an issue while still keep the big picture in mind. He has vision. He demands results. He holds people accountable. He is the kind of organized, dedicated office holder we need as our next mayor.

    As a long-time Democrat, I am proud to support David Catania for Mayor.

  • Carol Schwartz is the only candidate who is not beholding to the special interest that seems to be control in this city and that kind of leadership that this city needs, now and in the future.

    • Schwartz runs for Mayor once and loses, but hey who can blame her for thinking “if at first you don’t succeed try again.” She loses a second time, but you know what they say: “the third time’s the charm,” right? Nope, doesn’t happen. Yet Carol apparently doesn’t see the “handwriting on the wall. ” Maybe voters just don’t understand her platform so how about a fourth time? To no one’s surprise (but hers), voters don’t have a hearing problem, they just aren’t buying what Schwartz is selling. Now like a “bad penny” the cliche candidate is making a fifth attempt for DC Mayor. Selflessness you say? Or perhaps it’s a case of political revenge run amuck. That loss to Catania all those years ago must still sting. Bitter, party of one?

  • Aside from the historical questions regarding a possible Catania mayoralty in Washington, D.C., there's one other thing that many D.C. voters are likely to take into account: The fact that David Catania is a former Republican running for mayor in a city where the Republican Party brand is treated like yesterday's garbage.

  • Lane, well written piece! I am a volunteer and the conversation you started your article with mirrors the conversation I have with voters repeatedly day after day! Thank you for sharing your story of reasons why you are supporting David. Good to have you on board.

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