March to May 15: Magnus Wants to Lead
Ward 5 D.C. Council member candidate Ron Magnus wants the voters of his ward to send him to work in the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest on their behalf. Magnus is one of several candidates running for the D.C. Council seat that was vacated by Harry Thomas Jr., in the special election that will take place on Tue., May 15.
"I am running because I want to bring strong, aggressive leadership to the ward," Magnus said. "I intend to speak to every neighborhood and every Ward 5 resident during this difficult time to restore our faith, replenish our trust and call upon residents of Ward 5 to believe again in ourselves."
Magnus is a lawyer who has worked as an assistant attorney general, in the administration of D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams as the deputy director of government affairs; and as a special counsel for management in the Office of the Corporation Counsel.
Magnus is running on the platform of attracting small businesses to the ward, instituting smart growth, and economic development that focuses on employing Ward 5 residents. He said that he wants "effective, ethical and transparent government."
Other priorities include fighting for the ward's children to ensure they receive a "first class" education, strong constituent services for residents and he will work for "universal health care for all ward residents."
Magnus remains upbeat about his campaign and the future of Ward 5.
"I firmly believe that the best is yet to come," he said. "I intend to be an advocate for Ward 5; I intend to be a fighter in Ward 5 and uniter in Ward 5. To paraphrase the poet Gil Scott Heron as it relates to Ward 5 'now more than ever, all the family must be together.'"
Zapata Wants to Serve
Rae Zapata is an active resident of Ward 5 and current president of the Ward 5 Council on Education. She's also one of the candidates seeking the D.C. Council member seat vacated by Harry Thomas Jr., in the special election that will take place on Tue., May 15.
"I have a lifetime of commitment to community service," Zapata, 61, said. "I will not be beholden to any particular group. I will serve all of my constituents and I promise to be a new breed of politician."
Zapata said that if she is elected to be the D.C. Council member for the ward, she will "compromise and negotiate" but "not give away the whole pie" when it comes to getting the ward what it needs to thrive.
Zapata, who lives in Brookland, has been credited with jump-starting the conversation about bringing a middle school to the ward. At present, the ward doesn't have any middle schools. She's working with the brass of the District of Columbia Public Schools and D.C. Chairman Kwame Brown (D) to make sure that a middle school comes to the ward in the near future.
"The schools in Ward 5 should be quality schools," she said. "Good schools will help prevent problems like dropping out, crime and teenage pregnancy. The children of today are different than from any other time, so we have to market the value of getting an education to them."
Zapata said that she wants economic development for the ward but wants it to be inclusive of residents.
"Too many times, people know about a development project after the fact and that is not right," she said. "Yes, we must have economic development but everyone has to be informed about it at the same time and the developers must be held accountable for what they do."
She said her management experience as an attorney and an entrepreneur gives her an advantage over her competitors.
"My opponents have worked at places but they have not managed staffs," she said. "I feel that I should be the next council member because I have more experience than the rest of the candidates."