- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2017

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made the most of her 15-minute appearance Thursday at the annual Senior Fest, telling hundreds of elderly residents about the accomplishments of her administration amid a picnic atmosphere of free food and live music.

“I want to just thank you for your tremendous support, for your tough questions, for your advocacy, for your help in the community, for your presence in our schools,” Miss Bowser said in an address to the residents. “Thank you for letting me be your mayor, thank you for that, because in two and a half years we’ve gotten a lot of things done.”

The Democratic mayor, who is preparing to run for reelection next year, noted the success of initiatives such as the Safe at Home program, which she said has helped 700 seniors and residents with disabilities continue to live at home. She also called attention to the city’s $100 million annual investment for affordable housing, employment programs for retired residents and a pilot program that delivers groceries to seniors’ homes.

“This is the best time in the history of Washington, D.C.,” Miss Bowser said. “Balanced budgets, clean audits, people moving here, we’re meeting all the good government standards. But none of that would be worth a doggone if we weren’t serving our seniors and serving those that need the government the most.”

Thursday’s four-hour picnic festival in Northeast’s Kenilworth Park provided the mayor an opportunity to mix and mingle with elderly likely voters in a low-key environment. During her time on the main stage, she introduced the crowd to some of her aides — namely, HyeSook Chung, deputy mayor for health and human services; Keith Anderson, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation; and Laura Newland, director of the Office on Aging.

“I want you to know something: Washington, D.C., your government, the 33,000 people that work for D.C. government, they are [supporting seniors] every single day,” Miss Bowser said.

Her message was not lost on David George, who lives in a senior housing community on the 3300 block of 14th Street NW. He said residents, especially those of advanced years, benefit from activities like Senior Fest.

“They need more activities like this to bring them up so they don’t have to be left out,” Mr. George said. “A lot of them where I live at, they’re bored, then they talk to themselves because they don’t know what else to do with themselves and they don’t know how to bring their spirit up.”

Frances Curtis Johnson, who was crowned Ms. Senior D.C. on Sunday, said she has always been able to call and talk to someone in the mayor’s office and get responses to her emails, commending the good customer service.

“Case in point, my mother-in-law needed some legal services, and they contacted us in about two to three days with free legal advice on what we should do,” Ms. Johnson said. “I could tell you the retainer fee if you went outside of that starts at $500.”

She will compete in the Ms. Senior America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in October.

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