- The Washington Times - Monday, June 9, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Here comes Carol Schwartz.

A Republican who reminded D.C. voters that trash-and-garbage pickup is not a partisan issue.

A Jewish beauty contestant who eventually stood head and shoulders above the religious bigots of the Bible Belt.

A civic do-gooder who gives back because it’s the right thing to do.

A former teacher and school official who truly appreciates “special” education.

And the only gal who holds bragging rights for twice giving then-Democratic Mayor Marion Barry a run for his money.

Mrs. Schwartz is running for mayor again, except this time she won’t be beholden to party politics. Saying she’ll be running as an independent, Mrs. Schwartz has become a member of the D.C. gang that doesn’t shoot straight.

And what voters should most look forward to is how the former at-large D.C. Council member positions herself against a wild card — veteran at-large lawmaker David A. Catania, another independent — and ward boss Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat.

Mr. Catania is gay, Ms. Bowser is black, and neither is married, so a victory for either in November would be historic.

Mrs. Schwartz, meanwhile, is as familiar a commodity as they come in D.C. politics.

Voters and other stakeholders know where she stands because her actions always spoke more loudly and clearly than the Democrats’ usual doublespeak.

In her lengthy statement announcing her candidacy for mayor, Mrs. Schwartz pointed out that during her long run on the council, she:

• helped to lower the income taxes;

• stood up for medical marijuana;

• created the Department of the Environment and rebooted recycling programs;

• made D.C. the second jurisdiction to require hands-free devices while driving;

• created tax-free holidays for back-to-school and Christmas holiday purchases;

• prohibited the harassment of students based on sexual orientation;

• pushed for the separation of emergency medical and fire services;

• toughened drunk-driving laws;

• voted for baseball;

• provided safeguards for victims of domestic violence.

Of course, her list doesn’t end there, and that’s the caveat.

Since Mrs. Schwartz left office in 2009, tens of thousands of new residents and voters have come to call D.C. home, and most of them could easily say, “Carol, we hardly know of you.”

These newbies are young, money-making progressives and independents, the very stakeholders Mr. Catania, a former Republican, can count on to back him all the way to victory.

Interestingly, neither Mr. Catania nor Mrs. Schwartz could have ever been labeled conservative, or right wing, while in office.

Indeed, they both are politically predisposed to allergic reactions to social conservatism.

It’s the primary reason they easily fit in in Washington, and why Ms. Bowser has a tough road ahead.

Ms. Bowser is definitely holding the next generation, Democratic baton, as Kwame Brown, Michael Brown and Harry Thomas Jr. did.

Mrs. Schwartz could upset the mayor’s race if she taps into the pertinent demographics and shoots from the hip.

Five years is a long time in politics, and some folks are still wondering if she still has Texas swag.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com

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