- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 12, 2008

Two veteran D.C. Council members running for re-election this fall have become too comfortable in office and lack the energy to improve city services, their opponents say.

Patrick Mara, a Republican challenging council member Carol Schwartz for her at-large seat in the Sept. 9 primary election, said the incumbent “has done nothing to grow the party.”

“People remember her as the woman who took on [Marion] Barry to save the city,” Mr. Mara said. “But now she votes with him.”

Mrs. Schwartz on Monday announced her much-anticipated bid for her fifth consecutive term on the council and sixth term overall and touted her four decades of service to the District.

“I’ll compare my energy to anyone’s any time, anywhere,” she said Wednesday. “There’s nobody in this city who can hold a candle to me at any age.”

Mrs. Schwartz as proof pointed to her position as chairwoman of the council’s Committee on Workforce Development and Government Relations, which oversees 41 city agencies.

Independent candidate Adam Clampitt said the de facto one-party system in the District allows Mrs. Schwartz to brand herself as the face of the Republican Party in the District and continually win re-election without having to take a bold leadership stance.

“We need members of the council who are going to be progressive,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve gotten the performance we need out of Carol Schwartz.”

Mr. Clampitt will run against Mrs. Schwartz in the general election in November if she wins the primary.

Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, has faced similar criticism by challenger Cary Silverman, president of the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association.

“I think after someone is in office for 17 years, they get tied down with financial interests,” he said. “They have strings attached to them from all different directions.”

Mr. Silverman acknowledges Mr. Evans is better financed so he will use grass-roots campaigning that he says Mr. Evans has neglected.

Mr. Evans said his constituents and other residents are satisfied with his leadership and that his seniority and experience are crucial to keeping the city’s finances in order.

“We are the office that people come to citywide to get things done,” he said. “It doesn’t help to removed the people on the council who have some history.”

During his 17 years on the council, Mr. Evans has overseen the resurrection of several neighborhoods such as Shaw and Logan Circle that were ravaged by the city’s drug epidemic in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He has also watched over the development of the Seventh Street business corridor anchored by the Verizon Center and the construction of the new Convention Center at Mount Vernon Square.

The other council members up for re-election this year are Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat, and Yvette Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat who replaced seats vacated last year by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray.

Council member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, also will run again for his seat.

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