Term: 4 Years

Salary: $90,705

QUESTION: What would you do specifically to deal with the District's budget crisis? List three programs you would cut or streamline and tell how you would raise additional revenue.

Thomas B. Carter (I)

3300 Cleveland Ave. NW

Age: 31

Physicist/senior data analyst, Teledyne Geotech Corp. under contract to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; lifelong Washingtonian; attended public and private schools and the George Washington University; married; member, Christ Church Georgetown, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; active in local community organizations; never held a political office in the District.

A: There have been a lot of quick-fix ideas presented lately about how to solve this city's fiscal woes, ranging from firing half the government to demanding more support from Congress. These ideas may sound very appealing when shouted from a podium, but, contrary to what seems to be public opinion, sound bites are not sound politics. It has taken many years for this city's problems to come to a head, and the causes are wide-ranging. The solutions, then, would not come overnight, nor would they come from only one sector. The city leaders complain of a dwindling tax base. They have no one to blame but themselves. They are driving people and businesses out of the District at an unprecedented rate. They ignore the school system, over-regulate small business and ignore neighborhood development in favor of leviathan showcase projects. We need to decide right now that we will change our attitude toward small business, but especially toward education. When we are producing children with the knowledge and motivation to send them to the top of any existing concern, or better yet, to start their own business and industry, then we would be on the road to fiscally sound footing. Businesses would return in search of our talented labor pool, and the families would follow. Now, we can immediately save money by using the thousands of boarded-up units that this city owns to house the homeless, instead of spending hundreds of millions for hotels. The city is also owed hundreds of millions in uncollected commercial real estate taxes. Let's collect it.