D.C. MAYORAL PRIMARY
Fresh From Victory, Fenty Sets Top Priorities for Transition
Thursday, September 14, 2006
A day after capturing the D.C. Democratic mayoral nomination in a landslide, Adrian M. Fenty laid out an ambitious pre-transition agenda yesterday, saying he will examine city agencies and develop programs so that he is ready to take office in January.
Fenty, 35, who defeated D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp on Tuesday, stressed that he was not ignoring the Nov. 7 general election. But he acknowledged what is commonly accepted in the majority Democratic city: He and the other primary winners are almost assured of victory.
"If we waited until the inauguration or after the general election, we'd be doing the residents a disservice," Fenty (Ward 4) said in an interview. "Every minute we spend now means we'll hit the ground running that much better."
He said a top priority is to work with Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and influence the planning of the District's $7 billion-plus budget for fiscal 2008. Fenty also said he will identify potential members of his mayoral team, including a new city administrator, and study problems in the school system, police department and other troubled agencies. Fenty spoke again yesterday about running the District like a business, with prompt service delivery and improved efficiency.
The six Democratic nominees for the council also made plans yesterday. Vincent C. Gray (Ward 7), who beat colleague Kathy Patterson (Ward 3) for the nomination to replace Cropp, contacted Fenty to arrange a meeting. The overhaul of the council could include five new members within months -- including ward replacements for Fenty and Gray -- in what could be one of the most dramatic turnovers in city history.
At 7 a.m., after celebrating into the early hours yesterday, Fenty stood at North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue NW waving to motorists and greeting passersby, thanking them for his victory. People honked their horns and shouted congratulations in an increasingly cacophonous scene. Some leaned out of their car windows to shout to Fenty or catch a glimpse of him.
Throughout the day, well-wishers approached Fenty. He said he received congratulatory calls from U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and an aide to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
In the afternoon, Fenty knocked on doors at Woodland Terrace, a public housing complex in Southeast Washington, where residents rushed to meet him and ask for jobs.
Mykia Walton, 15, shook Fenty's hand and said, "Please don't be like the other mayors and forget about us."
Discussing the visit to Woodland Terrace, Fenty recalled a key concern voiced during the campaign: a sense in the electorate that the city is divided between a class of richer residents, whose standard of living has soared under the Williams administration, and another, which has been increasingly left out of the economic recovery.
Fenty won every precinct in the city and received 57 percent of the vote, compared with 31 percent for Cropp -- a margin that was twice what he had expected. About 35 percent of the city's registered Democrats voted, roughly the same percentage that voted in 1998, when Williams was nominated the first time.
"One of the constant refrains I heard from people when I was campaigning is: 'Are you going to come out after the election?' " Fenty said. "I wanted to go to Woodland Terrace, an area that needs help, to show them they are important to me."