Silverman Wants to Address Disparities
Elissa Silverman is ready to take her skills from the worlds of media and think tanks to politics where she hopes to become a model legislator at the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest.
Silverman, 40, is a candidate for the at-large position on the D.C. Council that was vacated by Phil Mendelson last year when District voters elected him as chairman of the legislative body. Silverman, one of eight candidates competing in the April 23 special election, said that District residents will experience a difference in government if she’s given the opportunity.
"I can show District voters 15 years of service to the city," said Silverman. "I will have a commitment to ethics reform, integrity, accountability and strategic investment while serving on the D.C. Council."
Silverman, currently on leave from the Fiscal Policy Institute in Northeast, where she works as a budget analyst, said that her years at the institute have heightened her sense of what needs to be done to help struggling District residents. For years, Silverman covered the District as a reporter for The Washington Post and the Washington City Paper.
"We have a growing city but we have our problems," the Northeast resident said. "We have to work the income and opportunity gaps in our city. We have to close the achievement gap in our schools."
She said that her years as a journalist will help hold governmental officials and her council colleagues accountable for their actions.
"Being a reporter, it is ingrained in you to advocate for openness and transparency and I will definitely do that on the D.C. Council," Silverman said. "Also, I hope to be treated fairly by the press during this election season."
However, it’s her work with the institute that may pose problems for Silverman with some District residents, D.C. political analyst Chuck Thies said.
"Elissa knows how the political game is played because of her years as a journalist and working with the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute but she will have problems with higher income residents of the city," said Thies, 47. "These residents pay a lot of taxes and they may not want to support a candidate who may raise their taxes to help less fortunate D.C. residents, which the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute supports. I can see her opponents now branding her a 'tax and spend liberal.'"
Silverman wants a city that’s for everyone and will work to ensure that happens on the D.C. Council, if elected, she said. "I want to make our communities better places to live and to see our families healthier."
Brown Prepares to Win
Former D.C. Council member Michael Brown is methodically planning his way back to the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest.
Brown, 47, who lost to D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) in the November general election last year and is a candidate for the April 23 special election to fill the at-large seat of Phil Mendelson, said that his campaign is taking shape.
"On Jan. 23, we turned into the D.C. Board of Elections more names than any other candidate," he said. "We have identified our office team and we have professionals from the Clinton and Obama campaigns working with us as well as local political professionals."
Brown served on the D.C. Council as an independent from 2009-2013 and gained a reputation as a lawmaker concerned about economic development in working-class areas of the city and affordable housing. Brown continues to work as a partner at The Madison Group in Northwest and said that he still has some assets that will help him win on April 23.
"I have high-name recognition and I know how to build a citywide operation for the campaign," he said. "Our organization is filled with people who are energized and excited about this campaign. I want to go back to the John A. Wilson Building so [that] I can continue to be the 'conscience of the council.'"