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SIMMONS: McDuffie says he heard what Ward 5 wants
Question of the Day
Kenyan McDuffie tells me he is taking to heart the message that Ward 5 voters sent on Tuesday about what happens to crooks, liars and wannabes.
“I heard it throughout the campaign, and I heard and saw it [election night],” said Mr. McDuffie, who won a grueling battle to become the council member-elect from Ward 5, with 40 percent of the vote. “While I was knocking on doors, they said they wanted the next council member to restore integrity to the ward and go about the business of giving the people their government back.”
The race was overwhelmed with Democrats and included a Republican, Tim Day, who drew considerable pre-election support for helping to nail the political coffin of former council member Harry Thomas Jr., who pleaded guilty to tax violations and stealing public funds.
But even Mr. McDuffie, who clearly emerged from the pack as the victor, couldn’t shake the other leading contenders.
Seems thousands of voters just don’t see Mr. McDuffie as their kind of guy, so I laid it on him, since, if he wants the job permanently, he will have to convince voters that he’s the real deal and no wannabe by 2014, when the Ward 5 seat is up for re-election.
“What are going to do, man?” I asked.
“A lot of folks in those neighborhoods - Langston-Carver Terrace, Brentwood and some others - feel as though they have been steamrolled and left out of the government process for lots of different reasons. They’re tired of people just showing every four years to get their vote,” he said.
“I’m going to make them a part of my inclusive effort, have community office hours in libraries, recreation centers,” promised Mr. McDuffie. “You shouldn’t have to drive down to the Wilson Building and fight to get a parking space to reach us. We’re going to take the show on the road.”
Speaking of wannabes
A white man as mayor of the District of Columbia or a black woman as chairman of the D.C. Council?
Why raise the topics today?
Because that was the chatter outside some Ward 5 polling places.
The names of Jack Evans, a Democrat and the most senior member of the council, and two of colleagues, at-large independent David A. Catania and Ward 6 Democrat Tommy Wells, passed the lips of campaign workers, voters and activists Tuesday at various precincts, where they had long stretches to chat because of low turnout.
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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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