As of Tuesday, no one has served on the D.C. Council longer than Jack Evans. His 7,945 days in office exceed the tenure of Hilda Mason, who served as an at-large member representing the Statehood Party from April 3, 1977, until Jan. 2, 1999.
Evans, elected in a April 1991 special election, celebrated the occasion Tuesday with cake and punch (one bowl marked “spiked”) in his council committee offices with staff, longtime political supporters and friends.
Gregory McCarthy, a former top aide to Mayor Anthony Williams who is now a Washington Nationals executive, acknowledged that some politicians might not embrace the title of longest-serving D.C. Council member: ”For some people, it’s called a bulls-eye. For Jack, it’s called a party.”
So kicked off a reminisce-a-thon from the likes of journalist Mark Plotkin, restaurateur Paul Cohn, minister and affordable housing advocate Jim Dickerson, longtime Evans confidant Linda Greenan, as well as council colleagues Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5).
Lawyer Bill Hall recalled the origins of his longtime friend’s council career — on the deck at a Dewey Beach summer rental in 1990. Evans, then a Dupont Circle advisory neighborhood commissioner, announced he was considering running to replace John A. Wilson, who was running that year for council chairman.
Hall’s reply: “Have another beer, Jack.”
Another attendee was Charlene Drew Jarvis, now the council’s third-longest serving member, whom Evans passed in legislative longevity in late December. She said she was not particularly surprised that he has had such staying power: “He had drive,” she recalled.
Barry — the only person in the room who has spent more time in office than Evans — shared another secret to Evans’s success: “If he gives his
work word, he keeps it — unlike some of my other colleagues down here.”