The vice president of the D.C. State Board of Education announced he will run for D.C. Council.

Markus Batchelor — who represents Ward 8 on the state board — is vying to win the seat held by David Grosso, the at-large council member who chairs the education committee.

Grosso, an independent, has not yet announced whether he will run for reelection in 2020.

Batchelor has brandished a reputation as a booster of the traditional public school system, advocating for the city to invest more in neighborhood schools instead of building additional charter and application campuses.

“The center of true choice is providing every family with a by-right choice in their neighborhood,” Batchelor said. “Everything else is supplementary. Choice starts from that.”

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Batchelor switched his party affiliation from Democrat to independent in recent weeks. By law, one of the two at-large seats up for grabs in 2020 must go to a candidate who is not affiliated with the District’s majority party, which is Democrat.

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More than 75 percent of D.C. voters are registered Democrats, and the second open at-large seat will probably go to a Democrat.

Robert C. White Jr.’s (D-At Large) seat is also up for reelection in 2020.

Batchelor, 26, grew up in Congress Heights in Ward 8 and attended schools in the traditional public and charter sectors. If elected, he would be the youngest official on the 13-member D.C. Council.

Batchelor — who works as a communications and program coordinator for the Young Elected Officials Network, an organization that supports elected officials — has served on the D.C. State Board of Education since 2017.

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The board holds little official power in the city, but representatives are often visible education advocates. He previously served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Congress Heights.

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Batchelor said that education would be at the center of his campaign and that the city could tackle poverty by improving its schools.

The D.C. Council chairman assigns committees, and Batchelor’s run does not mean that he would lead the education committee.

“Education has to be at the center of the discussion, and for far too long, it’s been at the margins,” he said. “We know that education is tied to public safety, criminal justice, it is tied to housing affordability and employment.”

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