As the D.C. primary election approaches on June 19. all eyes are on the newest generation of candidates poised to take control of District’s political future. One of the most prominent and promising names on the ballot is Sheika Reid, a third-generation native Washingtonian who is running for the hotly contested Ward 1 City Council seat. At the age of 27, Reid has embarked upon this journey to unseat incumbent Brianne Nadeau and to bring her generation to the forefront of the discussion of leadership and representation in the District of Columbia.
Reid was exposed to politics through her parents who were real estate developers instrumental in the revitalization and enhancement of the entire U Street corridor. They donated office space so a young politician could launch his mayoral campaign in the late ’70s. That man was Marion Barry, who went on to become known as “Mayor for Life” in this city. Reid cites Mayor Barry as one of her main political inspirations, saying what truly moved her was his “dedication to opening doors for District residents.” Along with longtime D.C. congressional representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, for whom she interned, and current Mayor Muriel Bowser, she has had many influences in local politics.
At Howard University. Reid studied civil engineering and her activist activities include environmental justice, affordable housing and workers’ rights, topics she also discussed on “Voices with Vision,” a radio show she hosted on WPFW-FM.
Reid has several issues she feels are incredibly important mainly due to the drastically and rapidly changing demographics of her home ward. Affordable housing is at the top of that list, and she has built a campaign that centers on having “a seat at the table” and the importance of representation.
One of her first political activities was organizing a ticket reform campaign after having her encounter with the potentially catastrophic outcome of D.C.’s aggressive and costly parking enforcement. Her council member wasn’t responsive, she said, so she reached out to other members of the council and was able to gather thousands of signatures for a survey and gather majority support for legislation to effect some change in the system.
Reid is looking to become the city council representative for Ward 1 because “it’s about who I am bringing with me,” she said. In light of some of the recent controversies related to cultural representation in the city. Reid said she wants to be sure that people of color, all age groups. and all economic classes are well-represented. Her approach is to meet her constituents where they are, making her one of the most socially active candidates on the scene currently. Her campaign footprint can be seen everywhere from day parties to community gatherings.
“I’m looking to redefine what it means to be politically active,” Reid said. Her campaign is driven by volunteer engagement. accessibility. and connection with her ward. As the primary draws closer, Reid finds herself reflecting on her political future. Her determination is undeniably clear.
“Right now the goal is to win this race!” she said. “From here the sky is the limit.”