- The Washington Times - Monday, February 10, 2014


If you’re interested in reading tit-for-tat rhetoric being spewed in the “war on women,” this isn’t the column for you today.

The issue is definitely worthy of discussion, especially since Sen. Rand Paul slapped the “sexual predator” label on Bill Clinton. Read Seth McLaughlin’s story in Monday’s editions if you prefer a balanced and unvarnished take.

Whether you’re a likely Hillary Clinton supporter or a fan of Bubba is irrelevant at this early juncture — especially if you’re a D.C. voter.

See, the District’s primaries are April 1, which means voters beholden to a bona fide D.C. political party are scheduled to cast ballots in several races, including congressional delegate and D.C. Council chairman. And if lawmakers give the people what they want, there will be a contest for an elected D.C. attorney general — a first in the nation’s capital, which has federal overseers and an appointed attorney general who heavily partakes in civil litigation.

By far, the most intriguing contest is the mayor’s race, which is chocked with professional politicians.

In fact, five of eight Democrats running for mayor already hold seats in City Hall — Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans, Vincent C. Gray, Vincent B. Orange and Tommy Wells — and three hold no elected post — Carlos Allen, Reta Jo Lewis and Andy Shallal.

On Sunday, voters zeroed in on the female candidates, Ms. Lewis and Ms. Bowser.

In a forum held by the nonpartisan D.C. Women in Politics, the two Democrats fielded questions about women’s issues — which means they talked about everything from taxes, economic development and health care to education, housing and child care.

We can bend the gender barometer all we want, because the bottom line is all issues are women’s issues.

Trying to determine who would be the best mayor is the burning issue.

Ms. Lewis has set herself apart from the boys and the girl.

Besides, Ms. Lewis is no career politician and no perennial candidate, and she doesn’t present herself or her positions as warmed-over grits.

On education, she told a standing-room-only crowd of about 120 people Sunday that “new ladders for learning” are needed and that she would focus on vocational and technical programs.

On law and order, she said we need a “strong” attorney general.

On health and wellness, she said the city needs to work closer with the private sector, including the faith and nonprofit communities.

And when it comes to economic development, she said the Lewis administration would focus on “match-making.”

Ms. Lewis has no record to show she voted on a particular bill, which means she represents the outside change already making a name for itself.

To Ms. Bowser’s credit, the Ward 4 lawmaker used phrasing such as “break new ground,” “transform” and “change” regarding the aforementioned issues.

Ms. Bowser also said, “I have the utmost confidence in [Police Chief] Cathy Lanier,” and “I would keep her.”

“She supports women in leadership,” Ms. Bowser said.

That’s good to know, whether you’re a Bowser supporter or Lewis backer.

See, D.C. has had a female mayor, and that woman didn’t do a good job.

A one-termer, Sharon Pratt lost to Marion Barry in 1994.

Two decades later, the question is not, ‘Will voters elect a woman to run the city?’ but ‘Which woman has the capacity and the match-making capabilities to lead — and sometimes push?’”

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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