Gray to Travel to China
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) said that he will not postpone his first trip overseas despite his legal troubles and the turbulent political situation in the District.
"I am going to China," said Gray, 69.
Gray is a subject of a federal investigation concerning his 2010 mayoral campaign and will have to deal with a new D.C. Council chairman, Phil Mendelson, because of the recent resignation of Kwame Brown from the position.
It's not unusual for mayors of big cities to travel domestically and internationally to seek business opportunities. The District is no exception.
Former Mayor Anthony Williams was criticized for his excessive travel by critics who said that he should focus on the problems of the city. Former Mayor Adrian Fenty was blasted in the media and by some political activists for a trip to Dubai that some saw as unnecessary and unproductive.
The mayor will leave on Sat., June 23 and return to work on Mon., July 2.
Gray said that his trip has a specific purpose.
"To build a diversified new economy for the District that is less dependent on the federal government, we must increase the District's profile in the global marketplace," Gray said. "This trip will help our local businesses better compete around the world and create jobs here at home."
Some of the primary goals of the trip include matching District businesses with potential Chinese partners and meeting with potential foreign investors about opportunities in the city. Gray will also renew the Sister City relationship with Beijing, China's capital.
The mayor and selected D.C. government agency heads will attend an international summit on sustainability and create an economic partnership with the city of Suzhou in the areas of technology, education, sustainability and tourism.
"I want to move this city forward," Gray said, defending the trip.
White to Run Again in Ward 8; Johnson Seeks Ward 7 Seat
A D.C. State Board of Education member will run for his seat for a full term and a rising political star will attempt to join him in a neighboring ward.
Trayon White, who represents Ward 8 on the District of Columbia State Board of Education, will run for re-election in the Nov. 6 general election.
"I am in the process of getting petitions and getting things together," said White, 28. "I want to continue to improve education in the ward."
Candidates for the board of education who serve at-large, and in Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8 have until Wed., Aug. 8 to submit their petitions to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics office in Northwest. The at-large position must have 1,000 valid signatures from registered voters in the city and ward candidates must have 200 to get on the general election ballot.
White was elected to the board of education to replace the late William Lockridge in a special election in April 2011. White is a protege of D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and is expected to be a front-runner to succeed Barry when he steps down from the council.
In Ward 7, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Villareal Johnson will challenge incumbent Dorothy Douglas in November. Johnson, 34, said that it's time for a new voice on the board.
"The Ward 7 community is seeking representation that can and will effectively communicate and advocate for and on behalf of their schools and children," said Johnson who lives in Southeast. "With 10 years of quality related experience in education, community engagement, capacity building and leadership, many believe that I possess the knowledge, skill and ability to meet the challenge of making education reform work for Ward 7."
He said that "our community has a rich legacy of great educational leaders."
"Now is the time for us to take the lead in the movement to provide our children with high quality schools and high quality education."