By JOHN CROSS
I’ve lived on Capitol Hill for 29 years. Except for six years, I’ve been a Washington resident since 1969. I’ve lived here through the administrations of Walter Washington, Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt Kelly, Tony Williams, Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray.
In those years I’ve seen huge changes in D.C., from the time when gay bars were raided to complete support of same-sex marriage. I’ve seen the city go from avoidance and antagonism to acceptance and support. I’ve benefited from this, marrying my husband nearly five years ago, living in a diverse neighborhood, raising a now-grown daughter and watching my chosen hometown become a finer place to live.
I support Muriel Bowser. I met Muriel when she was running for the Ward 4 seat she holds now. I was immediately impressed. It was what she wanted to accomplish and how she set out to reach those goals that makes me confident in my decision to vote for her on Election Day.
There’s no doubt about her support for gay rights. She’s sponsored a bill that provides resources to LGBTQ homeless youth, drafted legislation that led to the creation of a program to address bullying, has voted in favor of every piece of LGBTQ-friendly legislation that has come before the Council, resoundingly casting her vote for marriage equality in the District of Columbia and now has Stein Club support.
Recently, I was proud to stand with 200 LGBTQ members of our community at a meet-and-greet held for Muriel and organized by her brother Marvin in Ward 2. Muriel stayed until every question was answered. It was clear then that she believes strongly in equal rights, quality schools, improved city services, more affordable housing and better transportation – for everyone.
But Muriel has more to offer. She works well with people and brings them to the table to solve problems. This is important: knowing how to work together successfully, with neighborhoods, government leadership, with you and me, and particularly with our business community.
As a business-oriented Democrat, I know supporting small and medium-sized enterprises comes hard for many politicians. Government tends to look only at the triumvirate of power: the government, the military and big business. All are easier to understand than a small business trying to grow an idea into a larger reality. Small business changes and grows. It has problems. It doesn’t fit the bureaucratic ideal. But at the same time, small business is the goose that lays the golden eggs for growth, employment and making those important tax payments. Think of our growing DC companies like Blackboard, Inc. that now has over 37,000 corporate clients, or more recently, the job growth of consulting companies like Clutch Group who’ve added 250 jobs, and Clinovations who went from seven to 72 jobs – in three years. We need more of these successes.
Muriel knows what makes businesses tick. All you need to do is look at Ward 4. Dozens of new stores, restaurants, and small businesses have opened and violent crime has plummeted. And, a plan to transform the Walter Reed Army base into a 70-acre mixed-use neighborhood center is taking shape and benefiting from a lot of community input.
Muriel understands that without development we won’t have a city that will provide what its citizens require. It doesn’t take legislative bombast to do this, just sheer hard work – and Muriel’s work has gotten the job done.
In my discussions with her, she understands that the path of business is hard, and government should do its best to make it easier for the geese laying their golden eggs to continue what they do best. That’s why my honk is for Muriel.