- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2002

Marion S. Barry is returning to D.C. politics.
Mr. Barry, who served four terms as mayor and three terms on the D.C. Council, announced yesterday he will run for the at-large seat on the council currently held by Phil Mendelson.
"I'm making more money now than I did when I was mayor, and I love what I'm doing, but I feel as though I have a duty and responsibility to the people," Mr. Barry told WTOP Radio.
"I love this city, and I intend to make a difference," he said.
Mr. Barry, a Democrat, retired in 1998 and began a new career as an investment banker.
Mr. Barry was elected in 1974 as an at-large member of the first D.C. Council. Two years after winning a second term, in 1978, he won the first of his four terms as mayor, a string of incumbency interrupted in part by a drug conviction.
Mr. Barry celebrated his 66th birthday last night in Ward 7 at Edison Public Charter School at Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road NE.
The newly announced candidate does not have a platform yet, his spokeswoman Raymone Baine said.
"I have not seen a platform. It is a bit premature to discuss one. But Mr. Barry has always been concerned about the people in this city," Miss Baine said.
The former mayor has the reputation of being a champion of the poor and downtrodden. Political insiders believe Mr. Barry has been lured into running by the much-neglected residents who live east of the Anacostia River.
But Miss Baine said Mr. Barry is coming back to represent everyone.
"I think Marion wants to serve everybody. When he was mayor he was a champion for business, the elderly, youth, the poor and middle class," she said.
At the end of his third term, he served six months in prison for a 1990 misdemeanor drug conviction. Mr. Barry was caught on tape smoking crack cocaine in a notorious FBI sting operation when he was led to a hotel room and offered the drugs by then-girlfriend Rashida Moore.
The conviction, however, didn't end the charismatic politician's career.
After leaving prison, he served two years on the council representing Ward 8 before being elected to his fourth term as mayor in 1994. It was during that fourth term that he hired Anthony A. Williams to be the city's chief financial officer and later endorsed him during his successful campaign for mayor.
Rumors about Mr. Barry's return to the political arena have been circulating for months, and some council members have said they hoped he wouldn't run again because he would be a divisive force.
But the rumors proved true.
Mr. Barry yesterday confirmed for the first time that he will run in the Democratic primary, not as an independent as some had thought.
He said residents have informed him that Mr. Mendelson has not represented them well and called the incumbent "Councilman Do-little."
"The majority of people recognize that new, fresh ideas are needed in that seat, and the incumbent is not giving it to them," Mr. Barry said.
Mr. Mendelson responded by saying he does not believe in name-calling or negative campaigning.
"I am very comfortable with my record. I have a solid record," Mr. Mendelson said. "I have led the fight in the council on predatory lending and environmental protections."
He said he will campaign on his legislative record and does not think he can be bested on the issues.
"I am confident that I will be successful come September," said Mr. Mendelson, who was elected in 1998 as the city struggled under the congressionally imposed D.C. financial control board that was put in power during Mr. Barry's fourth term.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Lawrence T. Guyot Jr., who represents 1B04, said Mr. Barry is one of the few candidates who can bring all Washingtonians together, along racial, socioeconomic and political lines
"Marion Barry is without peer in his experience of the body politic of D.C.," said Mr. Guyot, adding that he will campaign for Mr. Barry.
"I look forward to being involved in the race," he said.
Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, agreed, saying: "Barry is a formidable candidate. He's not to be underestimated."

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