Some members tout their devotion to their jobs: Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) “is committed to good government, law reform, and serving her constituent neighbors in Ward 3.” David Catania (I-At Large) calls himself an “outspoken voice for improving the District,” while Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) is “a strong advocate for all of the people he represents.” Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) is still more florid, calling himself a “dedicated public servant, champion of youth empowerment, and devoted advocate for the residents of Ward 5.” (His online biography, incidentally, still mentions his troublesome Team Thomas charity.)
Vincent Orange (D-At Large) goes biographical, noting that he “knows the power of a good education first hand” — a nod to how a high school scholarship helped him transcend a poor Oakland upbringing.
Others play up their longevity.
Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), the Council’s longest-serving member, notes he “was first elected to the Council of the District of Columbia in a 1991.” Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) says he’s “been serving his constituents as Councilmember since 1998.” Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) goes beyond her council service, noting she“has spent many years advocating for long term progressive change for all Ward 7 citizens.” Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) is more precise, noting that he “[f]or more than 20 years ... worked to improve our city services and quality of life.” But that’s not much next to Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) , who “has dedicated 40 years of his life to public service, living the motto, ‘always fighting for the people.’ ”
Roots are also important.
Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) is an “innovative leader and native Washingtonian working tirelessly to improve the lives of District residents.” The native card also gets played by colleague Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), “a third generation Washingtonian, [who] loves his native city with a passion.” But he’s no match for Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), “a fifth generation Washingtonian, [who] brings a pragmatic, no-nonsense approach to legislation.”