April 26, 2011 at 8:44 am EDT | by David J. Hoffman
Consider a vote for Josh Lopez

I just voted this morning in today’s D.C. City Council special election, to fill the vacant at-large seat.

I voted for Josh Lopez, and you should consider doing so today — polls remain open until 8 p.m. — also.

Here’s why.

He’s the youngest candidate, at age 27 but he is also seasoned — having worked for Adrian Fenty on his Council staff and later in his campaigns for mayor, and also as an ANC member — and he can speak for the largely disenfranchised and growing youth population in D.C.

He is also the ONLY Latino/Latina candidate among the nine candidates seeking victory today, and it is a scandal — wrong on so many levels and for so many reasons — that there is no Hispanic serving on the Council, despite the large and growing Hispanic population in D.C.

He will also be an independent voice and vote for reform on the 13-member Council — as he says, “to go downtown and shake things up!” He is NOT party of the city’s discredited mayoral and Council power base, in the self-perpetuating “machine” that is rooted in corruption and the old ways of getting things done.

In Josh’s own words, “If we keep electing the same people, we will get the same results. It is time for a change!” I agree.

True, the power brokers at the Washington Post endorsed someone else, the Republican Patrick Mara, who despite being progressive on some issues is nevertheless tied to his party and Mara’s victory will rightly be seen as a vote for Republican values in a city deeply Democratic and progressive.

But the Post also said of Lopez that he is “an engaging newcomer … who would be the first Hispanic on the Council if elected,” and that Lopez “is running an energetic, forthright campaign.”

“There’s no doubt that he would be an independent voice on the Council,” said the Post’s editorial on this race. I agree.

He is also totally sensitized to the concerns of the city’s LGBT population, as he told me recently, in part because he knows that it’s simply right to stand with those who have been oppressed, and in part because his own brother is gay. He will be a strong and proud voice for the LGBT agenda, including, he says, for transgender persons who he feels are still mostly excluded from realizing the rights of being citizens who will be treated fairly in every way.

I could recite his stands on the issues — to continue reforms in the D.C. public schools and also for a more progressive approach to income taxes so more revenue is raised from the rich and those with high incomes, and to shield the poor and vulnerable from crushing cuts to city social services under the mayor’s new budget.

But the existential reason to vote for Lopez today is because he is young and has energy as well as vision. He is young and fresh, when almost everyone else, however decent, is tired. He will bring new and needed perspectives to city government. Your vote is precious surely. Today is a chance to make it count!

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