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White, Pannell Race Gets Testy

10/31/2012, 1:21 p.m.

White is the executive director of HICKS or Helping Inner City Kids Succeed, a nonprofit designed to help youth excel in school and in life. While on the board of education, he has pushed for more resources for Ward 8 schools and greater parental involvement.

Mary Lord, who represents Ward 2 on the board and is a candidate for the at-large position as well, said that "Ward 8 has two very strong candidates and I want them both."

"Phil has done extraordinary things and he has had a lasting impact on schools and parents," Lord said. "Trayon, who I serve with, represents the views of young people well and that is a community that needs representation."

D.C. political analyst Chuck Thies said that the White-Pannell race could have far-reaching ramifications.

"Trayon is seen as a product of Marion Barry and if Trayon loses, it will be a political blow to Barry," said Thies, 47.

Pannell is known nationally as a gay rights activist and if he should win on Nov. 6, he would be the first openly gay black to be elected to a major office in the District. Thies said that achievement would be noteworthy, but for the most part, irrelevant.

"Phil's election would open doors for African-American gay candidates but the goal should be to move beyond labels," he said. "The real issue should be who would be the best for the kids in Ward 8 on the board of education."

Wanda Lockridge said that it's time for seasoned activists like she and Pannell to step aside for the younger generation.

"It is time for these young people to take the banner and for people like Phil and me to guide them," she said. "I will be with Trayon until the end."