Why I Voted For…

editorial by: Greg Roberts

When Ward 5 lost its Councilmember earlier this year, as owner of The Insider, I made a preemptive decision that we were not going to endorse any candidate that would run for the seat. We know that we will have to work with whoever won the special election to keepRhode Island Ave NEmoving in the right direction.

Given the huge strides that organizations like Friends of Rhode Island Ave, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and other groups have made recently to bring attention and activism to redeveloping the Avenue, I can no longer sit on the sidelines hoping that the next Councilmember will ensure this enthusiasm and progress continues to move forward.

This is why I want to tell you why I decided to vote for Kenyan McDuffie yesterday.

Enter the disclaimer: This is my personal view and does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any organization or the contributors of this blog.

The Insider sent all of the candidates (who listed their contact information on the Board of Elections website) a quick survey to get their views ofRhode Island Ave NE and how they would help move it forward. Several of the candidates responded and we posted their responses in our Special Election section of the website. We were very happy to see so much interest in RIA from the candidates and are encouraged that if any of them won, we wouldn’t be forgotten as a community and potential economic force in the District. But Kenyan’s responses, and subsequent conversations confirmed, that he has a better command of knowledge regarding RIA and the issues it is facing. Kenyan also demonstrated a real concern of what local residents really wanted for the Avenue and how they can get engaged to make a difference.

One of the key items that we felt was key to Rhode Island Ave NE redevelopment is connectivity of the Main Streetarea of the Avenue (from 18th to 24th Streets) and the RIA-Brentwood Metro station. Kenyan highlighted this needs as one of the keys to bringing viable retail options. In addition, he was able to tie in something that is not often thought of, which some may think as a small, insignificant detail, when discussing redevelopment: extending parking meter hour limits from one hour to two. Something as simple as that could help attract restaurants, who’s patrons will need more than the one hour currently allotted. Restaurateurs consider that when looking for locations.

Kenyan understands that redevelopment cannot happen only from City government, it will take the activism of a coalition of residents, ANC, and others to make it happen. Kenyan has showed his commitment to working with community stakeholders and putting his words to action for the Avenue. Team McDuffie showed up to the last FoRIA Avenue Clean-Up and helped pick up trash (editor’s note: I also commend the other candidates who have shown up as well).

Without going on and on regarding my reasons for endorsing Kenyan, we’ll just say that I was quite impressed with Kenyan McDuffie overall, as well. He’s are really genuine guy. More on his economic development platform can be found at his website.

Although I am encouraged by all of the candidates’ running and their commitment to RIA revitalization, I was most encouraged by Kenyan McDuffie. Again, I am proud to support his candidacy for Ward 5 Councilmember.

The election is to be held on Tuesday, May 15 but you can vote now! Here is some information on where to vote or go to the DC BOEE website:

Early voting using a paper ballot:
Old Council Chambers
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street, N.W., Suite 250 North
Saturday, May 5 and Monday, May 7 – Saturday, May 12
8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Early voting using a touch screen ballot:
Turkey Thicket Recreation Center
1100 Michigan Avenue, NE
Saturday, May 5 and Monday, May 7 – Saturday, May 12
8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

At the polls:
Only the 18 precincts in Ward 5 will be open. You can look up your assigned polling place here.
Polls open on May 15 from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

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One thought on “Why I Voted For…

  1. I haven’t been able to follow the primary closely at all, but this endorsement helps. My top 2 issues in voting for a potential councilmember are 1) does this person have integrity and will they bring Ward 5 out of the shadow of corruption and 2) can they effectively mobilize political and community resources to bring life and vitality back to this corridor, especially the main street area. I’m becoming more convinced that Kenyan is the candidate who can do so.

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