- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2005

D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty yesterday announced his candidacy for mayor, saying he would bring a “new era of accountability” to city government.

“A new era where we judge ourselves by what we do for those most in need,” said Mr. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat. “A new era where all of us come together in new and innovative ways to turn problems into opportunities.”

The 34-year-old lawmaker, who was re-elected to a second term last year, was surrounded by family and supporters at his boyhood home in Northwest as he vowed to hold campaign events in every ward of the city.

“You have told me that you will never be satisfied when people are still afraid to walk out of their homes in parts of the District,” he told a group of about 100 supporters. “You have told me that you want a mayor who can connect and engage with you in your own community and who is committed to bringing the economic growth that this city has seen to your neighborhood.”

Mr. Fenty is the first candidate to officially announce a mayoral run for next year’s election.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who has not said whether he will seek a third term, yesterday called Mr. Fenty a “skillful and able politician” but noted that the November 2006 election “is way off.”

“Right now, I am concerned about doing the job I was elected to do,” Mr. Williams, a Democrat, said hours after the Fenty announcement.

“I am going to continue to focus on supporting the superintendent of education; supporting the police chief, who I believe is a good police chief, in crime reduction; continuing the efforts we have made in affordable housing; the tremendous efforts we have made in economic development … These are the important issues that demand our time and attention.”

The mayor’s comments were a pointed jab at Mr. Fenty, who has frequently opposed Mr. Williams’ major initiatives, such as closing D.C. General Hospital and using city bonds to build a baseball park in Southeast.

Mr. Fenty yesterday said he has supported affordable housing, redeploying police officers, modernizing schools and reforming the juvenile justice system.

He has cited as a key success his call for a neighborhood economic development plan to help retailers improve the facades of their businesses. However, he has faced opposition from pro-business council members for his call to ban single-container alcohol sales in the city.

Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat, and member Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5 Democrat, also are considering vying for the mayoral post.

Michael Brown, son of former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, and former D.C. Democratic State Committee Chairman A. Scott Bolden also are exploring runs.

A lawyer and former legislative aide, Mr. Fenty was first elected to the D.C. Council in 2000, defeating longtime member Charlene Drew Jarvis. He ran uncontested for re-election in 2004.

Mr. Fenty said he will begin putting together a campaign team and estimated that the race will cost between $1 million and $1.5 million.

• Brian DeBose contributed to this report, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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