Patrick Kennedy (Photo courtesy of the Patrick Kennedy for Ward 2 Campaign)
As the former chair of the Dupont Circle ANC, now serving in my eighth term, and as a founding member of the ANC Rainbow Caucus of LGBT+ elected commissioners, I am proud to announce my support for Patrick Kennedy for the Ward 2 Council seat.
In a city of talkers, Patrick is a listener. In a city of too many self-promoters, Patrick is self-effacing. Above all, in a city too often divided, Patrick is a uniter. Whether he agrees with you or not, he will treat you with respect. He will give your argument fair consideration, take it into account, and sometimes he might even change his mind.
He is sincere. He is hard-working. He is honest. He is kind. He has a remarkable knowledge of District government and of Ward 2, gained through eight years of hard work and study. He is ready to tackle the job from day one.
This is not about the incumbent, Jack Evans. I campaigned for Jack’s opponent in 2008, and supported Jack in the two subsequent elections. Jack championed my appointment to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, after I had campaigned against him, and for that I shall always be grateful. We’ve worked together since on many neighborhood issues. I consider Jack to be a friend, and hope we will remain friends.
I sincerely hope Jack is right that the current federal investigation into his dealings will turn up nothing. But it is time to move on and look to the future. Jack has held the Ward 2 Council seat for longer than Patrick Kennedy has been alive. And the D.C. of 1992 or 2002 or even 2012 is certainly not the D.C. of today.
Patrick is part of a younger generation that has graduated college with a mortgage of sorts, in the form of student loan debt. He doesn’t have a car, because he doesn’t want one. He rents his apartment. He uses Bikeshare to get around. He depends on reliable public transit. He is part of the new and future D.C.
I first met Patrick in November 2012, days after he was first elected ANC Commissioner and before he was sworn in. D.C. Public Schools had just announced plans to close Francis-Stevens Educational Campus, and this 21-year-old GW undergrad became involved in the successful effort to save the school, quickly becoming part of our leadership team. Today, FSEC is School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens, and is a DCPS success story with a waiting list of more than 900.
His leadership was rewarded when his colleagues elected him chair of the Foggy Bottom ANC at age 22. One D.C. Council member, impressed with Patrick’s work, joked that it was good that ANC 2A finally had some adult supervision. Patrick still has the distinction of being the youngest ANC chair in District history.
Patrick’s Single Member District borders mine, and we have worked together on many issues. Things as seemingly mundane as the New Hampshire Avenue streetscape required us to keep residents, hotel owners, and other businesses aware of last minute utility shutoffs, lane closings, parking changes, and so on. He soldiered through this unglamorous work for more than a year, and it speaks volumes about his dedication.
Patrick’s leadership on contentious issues such as GW Hospital’s application to build a helipad and plans for a protected bike lane on 21st Street has been nothing short of remarkable. Both issues had turned neighbor against neighbor, and yet Patrick Kennedy managed to find consensus, and, in the end, he gained the respect of everyone.
Patrick is as concerned about the need for LGBT+ senior housing as he is for the safety of our LGBT+ youth in our schools and the need for D.C. schools to promote inclusivity and acceptance while doing more than lip service in cracking down on bullying.
He also has a broad understanding of how citywide issues such as the shortage of housing at nearly all income levels impact the LGBT+ community. That shortage forces our new arrivals to look for housing in established working-class and middle-class neighborhoods, putting upward pressure on rents, forcing out long-term residents, often displacing people of color.
That’s why he’s so passionate about the need for new housing at all income levels, and for more mass transit options. D.C. is changing, and we need to keep up with that change.
There are so many divisions in our city. And yet community leaders from across the ward are uniting behind Patrick’s campaign, because he’s a proven leader with a strong track record of community involvement who knows how to bring folks with different viewpoints together
As our campaign continues, I hope you’ll have a chance to meet Patrick. Once you do, I think you’ll join me in supporting him. He will make you proud.
To learn more about Patrick and the vision he’ll bring to the Council, please visit PatrickForWard2.com.
Mike Silverstein is a member of the Dupont Circle ANC.