DC Political Round Up

James Wright | 1/12/2012, 4:05 p.m.

Race to April 3 Primary -- Brown Wants Engagement, Seeks Ward 7 Seat

Community activist Tom Brown is one of the candidates vying for the April 3 Democratic Party nomination for the Ward 7 seat on the D.C. Council. D.C. Councilmember Yvette Alexander is running to retain her seat on the District's legislature. Brown, 45, said the ward is suffering.

"Primarily, the level of services in the ward is subpar," he said. "The community engagement is broken and fragmented and I will fix that."

Brown is a former educator at Anacostia High School in Southeast and a founding board member and teacher at KIPP D.C. in Southeast. A resident of the River Terrace section of the ward, Brown said that he wants "to keep people first and keep people engaged in the process." Brown is also known as the founding co-chair of the Ward 8 Workforce Development Council. A native Washingtonian who attended H.D. Woodson High School in Northeast, Brown is not happy with the pace of development in the ward.

"If you were to go back to 1983 and look at how things are now, you would not see much difference," he said. "Economically, this ward looks the same as it did at that time and I want to bring progress to the ward."

Barry Attacks

D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry has made it clear he is not happy with some of the actions of his former staffer, Natalie Williams, who is running against him for the April 3 Democratic Party nomination for the Ward 8 seat on the D.C. Council.

Williams, who served as Barry's spokesperson on the D.C. Council, was criticized by the veteran politician for her opposition to Calvary Women's Shelter in the ward.

"This is an issue I investigated and have been working with the community on for over three months," Barry, 75, said. "Her Johnny-come-lately efforts are just that. If she had taken the time, she would have found that Calvary Church is doing the Lord's work and that they have successfully operated a women's transition house at 5th and K Streets for almost 30 years."

Barry said "Natalie Williams just recently moved into the ward and knows very little about it.

She should be ashamed of herself to oppose a group that is trying to bring help, hope, jobs and resources to 50 single women who are attempting to get their lives together."

He said he is confident District residents will see the clear choices they have for council member.

"I am positive that the residents of Ward 8 will see Natalie Williams for what she is. I stand firmly for housing, jobs and healthcare and to help people, not hurt them."

Williams ran for president of the Ward 8 Democratic Committee last September but lost despite the backing of Barry. Williams responded to Barry's comments saying they were "untrue" and "it's a politician's move."

Barry's criticism of Williams drew fire from the GOP and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) because they said Barry used a D.C. Council press release to attack a political opponent.