The District is so heavily Democratic, general elections can seem like an afterthought. Not so this year. On the ballot Nov. 8 are spirited contests for seats on the D.C. Council and the State Board of Education, and the stakes are high. The coronavirus pandemic’s lingering impacts pose big challenges for the city: how to revive a dormant downtown, how to combat a spike in crime, how to make up for student learning loss. Despite these challenges, the council’s members have in recent years appeared more interested in advancing ideological goals than in providing pragmatic solutions.
In the contest for two at-large seats on the council — the races attracting the most attention with a field of eight candidates — we endorse independent candidates D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie and Graham McLaughlin.
Mr. McLaughlin, a first-time candidate who would bring to the council the best promise of change, is our first choice. An executive at a global health services organization, Mr. McLaughlin has a rich history of community involvement, including opening his home to recently released offenders. He uses data to attack problems, and his experience incubating small businesses has schooled him in how to scale up successful programs and pull the plug on those that don’t work — abilities in short supply on the council.
Of the three incumbents seeking a return to the council, Mr. McDuffie is the clear choice. Anita Bonds (D-At Large) has had a lackluster tenure on the council; Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) has helped to lead the council’s ideological tilt. Mr. McDuffie has ably represented Ward 5 since 2012. He declined to seek reelection from the ward in an effort to run for D.C. attorney general, which failed when the board of elections ruled him ineligible. He can still serve the city with his balanced approach to lawmaking in which he listens to all sides and carefully weighs issues. Of particular note has been his focus on small businesses as a way to grow the local economy.
Of the other council seats on the ballot — the chairman’s and those representing Wards 1, 3, 5 and 6 — only the race in Ward 3 has turned into a real contest. As the Democratic nominee, Matthew Frumin is likely to win, and there is much to recommend him. Long active in the community, Mr. Frumin knows its needs, and he strives to bring people together. But he leans left, and that’s not the direction the council — or city — needs. Republican opponent David Krucoff is a centrist who argues for lower taxes, better support for the police and continuing mayoral control of schools. These are the right positions, and one-party rule has been unhealthy for D.C., so we endorse Mr. Krucoff and urge Ward 3 voters to give him a close look.
For the State Board of Education, we endorse Eric Goulet in Ward 3, Carisa Stanley Beatty in Ward 5 and Brandon Best in Ward 6. Mr. Goulet is a former city budget director whose encyclopedic knowledge will help the board as it undertakes a much-needed study of pupil funding. Ms. Beatty created a program that provides financial assistance to those seeking to own their own homes, and she is the parent of a child in D.C. schools, so she is familiar with families’ everyday concerns. Mr. Best has 18 years of experience as an educator and school administrator and smart ideas on how to improve parental engagement.
Also on the ballot but facing token opposition are Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), all of whom we endorsed in the primary and continue to support.
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