Five things you don’t know about Vincent Orange, D.C. mayoral hopeful

1. Orange is the ninth of ten children, and the youngest boy. “When you have seven sisters and two brothers,” he says, “you’re politicking all the time.”

2. As a part-time security supervisor for 13 years at The Washington Post, Orange occasionally had to prepare for visiting dignitaries. In 1988, he says, he was on hand for a drop-by from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1982, he was curbside for the arrival of Ferdinand Marcos, the controversial president of the Philippines. Security was tight along 15th Street NW, with snipers on surrounding rooftops. “The Secret Service gave me a little “S” to pin on my tie,” Orange recalls. “They said ‘If anything happens, that “S” is going to be the only thing that saves you.”’

3. Orange has given up alcohol for lent each of the last eight years. But this year, he miscalculated the start of the season and began abstaining Feb. 5, a full month early.

4. Those ubiquitous Vincent Orange for campaign posters have caused a stir from the beginning of his political career in the 1990s. Orange remembers his first race for council chairman as an unknown against veteran John Wilson. When Wilson arrived for a prayer breakfast, he found the street lined with orange posters, which someone quickly tore down. “While they were inside,” says Orange, I put them all back up.”

5. Early in Orange’s career in city government in the late 1980s, he got what he called his “introduction to Marion Barry,” who was then serving his third term as mayor. When Orange’s audit team uncovered several million dollars in available funds, his superiors offered him this warning: “Don’t let the mayor know you’ve found this money,” Orange recalls. “He’ll spend it.”

Steve Hendrix came to The Post more than ten years ago from the world of magazine freelancing and has written for just about every page of the paper: Travel, Style, the Magazine, Book World, Foreign, National and, most recently, the Metro section’s Enterprise Team.
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