Moten Hasn't Endorsed Romney – Yet
On the eve of the Republican Party convention in Tampa that starts on Monday, August 27, one of the rising stars of the local Republican Party said that he's not ready to support the presumptive presidential nominee at this time even though the District delegation is backing the GOP leader.
Ron Moten, a former leader with the anti-gang organization, Peaceoholics and the Republican candidate for the Ward 7 seat on the D.C. Council said that he's adopted a wait-and-see attitude regarding former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee for president.
"I am weighing my options," said Moten, 42. "I am going to listen to both of the people who are running for president and hear what they have to say. I intend on voting for the best person."
District Republicans are strong supporters of Romney. In the Tuesday, April 3 Republican primary, Romney won 68 percent of the vote with U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) lagging behind at 12 percent.
Moten, a strong supporter of former Mayor Adrian Fenty, faces incumbent D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) in the general election.
There's an unspoken rule in the GOP that all Republicans, regardless of political ideology, support the presidential candidate in the general election. Moten said that he will not abide by that rule at this time.
"Ron Moten is not lockstep behind anybody," he said. "I don't roll like that. I am a civil rights Republican and I need the right reason to vote for a candidate."
Moten isn't in awe of President Barack Obama, either.
"Obama's stimulus funds have not helped black people," he said. "A lot of the stimulus money has gone to help to lock us up."
Moten said that the key for either the president or Romney in terms of getting his support hinges on their political platforms.
"I will listen to their agendas locally and nationally and I want to see how they will benefit the people," he said.
Defining a Democrat
The Ward 8 Democrats engaged in a thought-provoking discussion on "What is a Democrat" during their monthly meeting at the Imagine Southeast Public Charter School in Southeast on Saturday, August 18. The hot topic once again focused on the election of D.C. Council member Michael Brown (I-At Large) as the chairman pro tem of the D.C. Council over Council member Vincent Orange (D-At Large).
The Rev. Joyce Scott, president of the organization, opened up the debate with a short history lesson.
"The D.C. Council voted for Phil Mendelson for chairman and then they voted for Michael Brown for chairman pro tem," Scott said. She said that some of the council members didn't support Orange because they "did not like him."
Days after the D.C. Council's vote in June – caused by the abrupt resignation of Kwame Brown as chairman of the D.C. Council – the Ward 8 Democrats supported a resolution that said, in essence, that a Democrat should have been elected chairman pro tem. The discussion and the result of the vote generated interest among political observers because at that time, the organization's first vice president, Markus Batchelor, worked as an intern in Brown's office.
Scott presented several questions for those in attendance to consider.
"Does it mean that we as Democrats should support each other?" she asked the crowd. "Where does loyalty lie?"
Anita Bonds, the chair of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, Mendelson and D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) received an invitation to attend the meeting but no one showed up. Scott said that Bonds told her she would meet with her at a later date.
Despite the snubs, the discussion continued with Kim L.E. Bell, the organization's program development committee chair, taking the lead. Meanwhile, Batchelor and another organization member jotted down various comments from the group on poster boards that flanked the head table.
Batchelor, 19, said that Democrats in the city are overlooked when it comes to the national agenda.
"Democrats monopolize politics in this city," he said. "Democrats are taken for granted here. There should be an Obama campaign office in the [District] and there should be a scheduled event here in the city for Obama to campaign here but there is not."
Darryl Ross, the treasurer of the organization, took Orange, who serves as the organization's committeeman to the Democratic National Committee, to task for not aggressively pushing the city's lack of full voting rights on the national level. He said that Orange, an attorney, should file what is essentially a "no taxation without representation" lawsuit.
Scott said that the comments collected during the August meeting will be included in a document that will be presented to the Ward 8 Democrats in September and to candidates running for office at its October meeting.
"We will get this done and we will design and hold convocation on 'What is a Democrat.'" she said.