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Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

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 Maryland at College Park.

An occasional panelist on Roland Martin's “Washington Watch” and Denise Rolark Barnes' “Let's Talk” weekly news analysis cable-TV programs, Mrs. Simmons has also appeared on BET's “Lead Story,” “Real Time with Bill Maher” and Mr. Maher's “Politically Incorrect,” “America's Black Forum,” Fox News' “The O'Reilly Factor,” “The Right Side with Armstrong Williams,” C-SPAN's “Washington Journal,” and “This is America with Dennis Wholey.” She also has been a guest radio commentator on NPR, WAMU, WMAL and WOL.

Mrs. Simmons attended the University of the District of Columbia and Trinity College. She and her husband, who live in Washington, have four children and two grandchildren. Contact Mrs. Simmons at


Articles by Deborah Simmons

**FILE** D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Associated Press)

Gray tries to turn tide of negative publicity

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray should have been more prepared for the waves of bad publicity that overtook his young administration and been able to turn the public's attention to his achievements and goals over the next four years, political analysts say. Published April 4, 2011

School funding puts Gray under fire

As funding for D.C. students and schools hang in the balance on Capitol Hill and City Hall, school choice proponents are criticizing Mayor Vincent C. Gray for planning to renege on a promise to put charter school funding on par with traditional schools. Published March 29, 2011

** FILE ** Commerce Secretary Ron Brown is shown in this May 1995 file photo. The special prosecutor investigating Brown is reviewing activities with an Oklahoma gas company that include a $160,000 payment to Brown's son and trips for a top Commerce aide, according to interviews and documents. (AP Photo/File, J. Scott Applewhite)

D.C. renames street for former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown

It has been nearly 15 years since Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 other persons died in a plane crash in Croatia during a trade mission. On Friday, D.C. and federal officials dedicated a stretch of the street that runs alongside the Commerce Building in his honor. Published March 25, 2011

D.C. to sue online firms for unpaid taxes

D.C. officials on Tuesday announced plans to sue popular online hotel-booking firms such as Travelocity, Expedia and Priceline in order to recoup millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. Published March 22, 2011

**FILE** D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Associated Press)

SIMMONS: Should Gray be looking for a new welcome mat?

Mayor Vincent C. Gray fired his gatekeeper, Gerri Mason Hall, last week and could announce her replacement by week's end. Before then, he needs to replace his front-door mat, too, which has been soiled by questionable footprints. Published March 20, 2011

SIMMONS: Paying the cost of dropping out

When it comes to throwing resources at the dropout problem, the D.C. government, like most bureaucracies, is as splintered and resourceful as they come. Published March 17, 2011

Gerri Mason Hall

Gray fires staff chief in debate on hiring

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray fired his chief of staff on Wednesday — the first major ouster of his young administration, increasingly under fire for missteps in hiring political appointees. Published March 16, 2011

**FILE** Carol Schwartz

Schwartz nixes D.C. elections board seat

One of the District's most popular Republicans has rejected an offer from Mayor Vincent C. Gray to serve on the city's elections board. Published March 15, 2011

**FILE** D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., Ward 5 Democrat (The Washington Times)

Jobs coming to D.C.; now push is on to train workers

City Hall has a plan: Plug D.C. residents into jobs and careers that will be provided by major economic development projects, and money will again begin to flow into the city's shallow coffers. Published March 13, 2011

Charlie Sheen

SIMMONS: Sheen watchers enable sick man

Through a glass, briefly, Charlie Sheen. I know, I know. Some of you aren't interested, and I can dig it. But here's a guy who is tossing his blessings into the toilet — and his illness is hiding that fact. Published March 10, 2011

Kaya Henderson was named permanent chancellor of D.C. Schools, despite the absence of a national search to replace Michelle A. Rhee. (Rod Lamkey Jr./Special to The Washington Times)

Gray's pick for D.C. schools chief upsets union

D.C. parents and students may never know whether interim schools chief Kaya Henderson faced stiff competition to permanently succeed Michelle A. Rhee as chancellor, but Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Wednesday that she now holds the $275,000-per-year job and the title. Published March 9, 2011

Gray responsible for filling 8 seats on UDC board

Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who has to fill eight seats on the 15-member University of the District of Columbia board, is expected to begin filling those vacancies Friday — a move that could redirect the spotlight off university system president Allen Sessoms, who is under fire for questionable travel expenses. Published March 8, 2011

Gray seeks $76 million in D.C. education budget

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray proposed $76 million in new public school spending for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, but future budget cuts are still in the picture. Published March 7, 2011

**FILE** D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Associated Press)

Separate probes for Gray campaign allegations

Within hours of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's saying he takes full responsibility for any administration missteps, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown said Sunday night that he is referring allegations of Gray campaign improprieties to the D.C. Office of the Inspector General. Published March 6, 2011


President of UDC feels heat for travel spending

UDC President Allen Sessoms is in the proverbial hot seat. Students are calling for his ouster, news reports say he spends exorbitant sums on his travels, and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown is demanding straight answers on spending questions. Published March 6, 2011