It’s tough being Mary M. Cheh sometimes.
The D.C. Council member told her supporters at the D.C. Environmental Network as much last week, describing “the headwinds I face on a political front to get some of these things done” in a talk now posted on YouTube.
Cheh (D-Ward 3), among the council’s most enthusiastic backers of progressive policy legislation, has led reforms of elections, procurement and energy. But she was most determined to defend her bill placing new regulations on wildlife control providers, lamenting the “ridicule” she got from residents and the media.
”People don’t understand we’re all part of this habitat and we all thrive or not depending upon how all of it thrives or not,” she said, describing the measure’s benefits to humanity.
She also defended her activist approach more broadly.
“I get criticism from people — they say, you know, why am I wasting my time with legislation dealing with animals? We have so many other issues we have to deal with,” she said. “I try to explain to people this is not a zero-sum game. ... Anybody who watches me knows I don’t sit still.”
Cheh said she’s not discouraged by her critics and urged environmental advocates with green ideas to “think of me as your avenue to get that done.”
“The other members of the council, they might not be interested. ... They kind of roll their eyes at some of the stuff I’ve put through,” she said. “But nevertheless, when I explain it to them, I usually can get their support.”
Cheh noted that the barriers to legislation are lower in the District than virtually anywhere else in the nation. “If I get six other people to agree with me,” she said, “I can pass a law, and we can lead the country.”