David Catania claims to have the most progressive record of any candidate running for mayor. There is plenty of evidence to back up his assertion.
As I have often said when talking to voters door to door and on the phone, Catania is the only candidate in the race who is willing to take on big issues and bring people together to solve them. He has done this many times over.
In our overwhelmingly Democratic city, some people continue to have trouble moving past Catania’s past as a registered Republican. Voters need only to look at his record in office to see that he is, indeed, far more progressive than most Democrats around the nation. And his record of action is the most progressive of any candidate for mayor.
Catania operates like many of the great Democrats of our time, by taking on big issues that no one else will. Before there was Obamacare, there was “Cataniacare.” As chair of the D.C. Council’s health committee, he set out to aggressively expand health coverage to our residents and succeeded in cutting the uninsured rate in half. We even had, and still have, the lowest rate of uninsured children in the nation.
When Catania set out to save the only hospital east of the Anacostia River, it was such a mess that no one else on the Council would touch it. The radiology unit was burned out. The hospital was borrowing supplies. Nurses were walking off the job, leaving patients uncared for, because they weren’t getting paid. It was a dire situation for the hospital and the community it serves.
Now, because of Catania’s sustained effort to secure funding and work with stakeholders, the hospital is not only fully functional, but it is finally starting to operate in the black. There is an aggressive mammography program that aims for early diagnoses of breast cancer. There is a pediatric emergency room provided through a partnership with the Children’s National Medical Center. The hospital is also the largest employer in Ward 8, the ward with the highest unemployment rate. If this hospital had been allowed to fail, a mother with a sick child would have to take four different buses to get to the ER at GW Hospital.
On issue after issue integral to the Democratic platform, Catania has been at the forefront of the fight: marriage equality, Smoke-Free DC, medical marijuana, cheaper prescription drugs, investing in at-risk students and many more.
It has been shocking for me to hear well-educated people boil this race down to a choice between someone with a “questionable temperament” and someone with a “thin record of accomplishment.” That is a terribly over-simplified snapshot of the dynamics of this race.
Should you want to boil it down to something simple in order to decide for whom to cast your vote on Nov. 4, I would suggest a different construct: the choice is between one candidate who isn’t afraid to take on big issues and bring people together to solve them, and another candidate who is unwilling to take on those same issues, and unable to find collaborative solutions.
If you desire a D.C. government that continues to evolve, likely more rapidly than ever, and a mayor who will serve as an example of cutting edge governance, then all indicators point you to David Catania as the candidate who is most likely to deliver your vision.
It should also be noted that we can make history on Nov. 4 by electing the first gay mayor of our nation’s capital. It’s not often we get the opportunity to elect the most qualified candidate we’ve ever had for mayor AND make history at the same time. It’s a win-win!
Lane Hudson is a D.C.-based writer.