Lori E. Parker, a former magistrate judge in D.C. Superior Court, said Monday she will challenge incumbent Brianne K. Nadeau for the Ward 1 seat on the D.C. Council.
Parker declared her intention to take on Nadeau (D) exactly one year before the city’s Democratic primary.
“We have 365 days from today to fully mobilize all of our get-out-the-vote efforts,” Parker told more than 30 volunteers and Ward 1 residents gathered at the Josephine Butler Parks Center across from Meridian Hill Park.
Parker, 53, served from 2005 to 2016 as a magistrate judge and previously worked in the administration of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D). She said Nadeau, 36, who defeated longtime council member Jim Graham in 2014, has not done enough to respond in a timely manner to the concerns of residents in Ward 1.
“The constituent services in the ward range from quality-of-life issues like trash pickup to more challenging issues, which deal with things like complaints regarding alleged illegal construction or damage to property,” Parker told The Washington Post. “Those types of issues need to be responded to, and I don’t think that’s happening enough.”
If elected, Parker promised to fight for a “Ward 1 for all.”
Asked about Parker’s criticism that she has been weak on constituent services, Nadeau said in a written statement: “It has been an honor to serve the Ward 1 community for the past two and a half years. Together, we have made some great progress on critical priorities — securing more affordable housing, improving our local schools, and helping Ward 1 residents access the services they need. We are making great strides, and we have more work to do to make Ward 1 as prosperous as it can be for all our diverse residents. I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am running for re-election in order to build on that progress and continue to fight for the people of Ward 1.”
The ward, which is the city’s smallest in terms of area but its most densely populated, is already in a good position, Parker said.
“We’re on the upswing, but we can do better,” she said. “We need to do more to fulfill the ward’s true potential, which includes making sure that everyone benefits in and participates in the ward’s prosperity.”
Ward 1 includes Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Plains, LeDroit Park and portions of the Shaw neighborhood.
Parker wants to encourage residents to become more politically engaged, and she said she aims to address systemic issues — including affordable housing and public education — to create long-term stability.
One of the top priorities throughout her career has been advocating for children’s issues, Parker said. In addition to serving in family court as a judge, she served under Williams in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth, Families and Elders.
Parker, 53, is a third-generation Washingtonian and has lived in Columbia Heights for 17 years.
Parker attended D.C. public schools through middle school and went to Fairfax County’s Madeira School for high school. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in psychology, attended George Washington University for law school and earned her master of science degree in developmental psychology from Johns Hopkins University.