ATTENTION IN the District has been centered on the race for mayor. That is understandable since it is rare for the city to have a competitive contest in the general election. But other important offices also are up for grabs.
On the D.C. Council, four ward seats, two at-large positions and the chairmanship are on the ballot. In the ward races (1, 3, 5 and 6), Democratic nominees face only token opposition from Libertarian candidates. But the at-large and chairman races are another story.
Incumbent Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) faces four opponents, the most significant being Republican Kris Hammond and independent John C. Cheeks. It is encouraging that the city’s beleaguered Republican party hasn’t thrown in the towel in this Democratic-dominated city, andMr. Hammond, a former civil rights attorney at the Justice Department , is advancing a meaningful agenda that includes fiscal conservatism. But we believe that Mr. Mendelson deserves to be reelected. It would be difficult to find a council member more knowledgeable or hardworking. While we have not always agreed with him, we admire his principled approach. Promoted to the chairman’s seat following the resignation of chairman Kwame Brown in 2012, Mr. Mendelson has become more confident and capable in presiding over the often-unwieldy body and is well-suited to forge a positive working relationship with whoever is elected mayor.
The election for two at-large seats features 15 candidates of varying ability and experience. One seat is being vacated by David A. Catania (I) in his bid to become mayor, while the other is held by Democrat Anita D. Bonds, seen as a favorite by virtue of her party and incumbency. We respect Ms. Bonds’s devotion to the interests of senior citizens and her willingness to listen to all sides of an issue, but other candidates have more to offer this year.
Foremost among them is Courtney R. Snowden (I), a principal in a government relations firm with experience on Capitol Hill. Ms. Snowden grew up in Ward 4, lives in Ward 7, works in Ward 2 and has a keen understanding of the need to connect neighborhoods if the city is to thrive. She understands policy, is adept at building coalitions and is both smart and passionate about education reform. We also endorse Robert White (I), a lawyer and former legislative counsel to D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). Mr. White is knowledgeable about transportation, environmental issues and economic development, and he brings a balanced approach. He understands the needs of struggling neighborhoods, having overcome adversity to become the first person in his family to graduate from college. If elected, he would hit the ground running.
Also on the ballot Nov. 4 is Ms. Norton, who is seeking her 13th term. She faces three opponents, but there is no question she should be returned to office. Denied a vote in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton is a shrewd advocate for the District, able in protecting its interests and fearless in advocating for its rights.
Read more on this from Opinions: