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Mayor hopeful says D.C. families ‘in trouble’
Alexander a dark horse but familiar face
The face of Leo Alexander is a familiar one to longtime viewers of NBC's Washington affiliate, where he covered local news for several years.
Reporters got to see another side of the Ward 4 resident when he became a public information officer for the now-defunct D.C. General Hospital. These days, Mr. Alexander is making a name for himself in the mayor's race.
Like the top contenders - Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray - Mr. Alexander attends forums where he is grilled on such issues as unemployment, ethics, education and joblessness.
Unlike Mr. Gray and Mr. Fenty, Mr. Alexander occasionally sounds more like a conservative than either of the establishment candidates. Mr. Alexander, who announced his candidacy in September, stands apart by opposing illegal immigration and same-sex marriage.
He also parses an entire chapter of the conservative handbook by sounding the alarm on the breakdown of the family.
"We're in trouble," Mr. Alexander says in a June 23 post on dcwatch.com.
He starts out by painting a picture of the demographics of a D.C. middle school where he recently delivered a commencement speech.
Some eighth-graders sported visible tattoos, he noted. Girls "were wearing heels high enough to make an exotic dancer nervous, and nearly three-quarters of them were wearing clothing totally inappropriate for the occasion. Just about every one of the boys was wearing a wrinkled white shirt, but at least their pants were covering their behinds," he says of students at the June 15 ceremony.
Some students weren't permitted to attend because of behavioral issues. The adults attending the program weren't much better.
"Some of the parents and friends of these young people were provocatively dressed, and the noise level in the nearly empty auditorium was absolutely raucous," Mr. Alexander says. "We're in trouble."
After laying out a partial platform on how to stem the root causes of "generational poverty" with government intervention, Mr. Alexander launches into a fix-the-family-first sermon.
"The last point is where I usually lose most progressives and liberals," he says. "If we want to increase our tax base, then fix the families. If we want to lower the crime rate, then fix the families. If we want to reduce the need/expense of our social safety nets, then fix the families. And if we want to finally become that beacon of hope to the rest of the free world, then fix the families."
The run for D.C. mayor appears to be a two-horse race between Mr. Fenty and Mr. Gray, who also have said the city's families are in trouble.
Mr. Alexander usually places third in straw polls and has yet to garner the kind of money and major endorsements that his key opponents have.
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About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
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