Sheika Reid, a 26-year-old architectural drafter, will join two other challengers running against D.C. Council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) in the 2018 Democratic primary.
Reid, a third generation Washingtonian, said her youth means she will be able to "bridge the gap" that she thinks currently exists between the D.C. Council and its constituents, many of whom are millennials.
Reid, who grew up in Columbia Heights, said she wants to focus on improving access to affordable housing in the District, where soaring home prices have limited housing options for many young and low-income residents.
"I'm part of a generation that is saddled with students loans and directly affected by the lack of affordable housing in the city," Reid said. "I understand what millennials are dealing with because I am one of them."
Reid joins Kent C. Boese, the chairman of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A, and Lori E. Parker, a former magistrate judge in D.C. Superior Court, in the primary against Nadeau, who defeated longtime council member Jim Graham in 2014.
In overwhelmingly Democratic D.C., winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to winning the general election.
Reid, who attended Howard University and studied civil engineering but did not graduate, said she hopes to reach out to younger voters in Ward 1, where the average age is 31. The ward includes Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Plains, LeDroit Park and portions of the Shaw neighborhood.
She said one example of how she would work to benefit her constituents is her advocacy surrounding late fees for parking tickets.
Currently, a $30 fine for parking at an expired meter doubles to $60 after 30-day grace period. A $150 red-light ticket turns into $300 and a speeding ticket goes from $300 to $600.
Reid recognized how much the fines burdened low-income residents and created an online survey, which she said received thousands of responses. She took that survey to Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8)'s office, and soon after he introduced legislation to exempt District residents from late fees for failing to pay a parking or traffic ticket before the 30-day deadline. The legislation is pending.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Reid had graduated from Howard University. She attended Howard but did not graduate. This story has been updated.