By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]
The already crowded race for the D.C. Council at-large independent seat has added another candidate and this one promises to be potent. Former District of Columbia Banking Commissioner S. Kathryn Allen is seeking the non-Democrat elected at-large to the council on Nov. 6.
“I am running because I believe very strongly that constituents should be represented on the council,” Allen told the AFRO. “I don’t think that we have that now. I am a Black female business owner who believes in community service and we need that voice on the council.”
Allen said, “I will put D.C. first again and I don’t think [D.C. Council member] Elissa Silverman is putting D.C. residents first.”
Allen is a longtime resident of the District. She has a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a juris doctorate from the Boston College School of Law.
Allen worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and made history when she was appointed in 1999 by then D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams (D) as the first Black female banking commissioner in the country. Allen’s campaign co-chairs are Williams and former D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At Large).
Allen is the owner of a small business Gladsyl Insurance, and co-owner of Answer Title and Escrow. She was active with the Foster and Adoptive Parents Advocacy Center, served on the pastoral council at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, and on the board of D.C. Zoning Adjustment and Industrial Bank.
In addition to Silverman, Allen will contend for the at-large independent council position with Ambrose Lane, Dionne Bussey-Reeder, Rustin Lewis, and Traci Hughes at this point. Petitions to get on the general election ballots are due Aug. 8.
Allen said as a member of the council, she will focus on quality jobs for residents so they can be prosperous. “I employ D.C. residents and no one on the council can say that they have done that,” she said. Allen supports initiatives for affordable housing “so that we can keep D.C. residents in D.C.”
“I am astounded by the number of people who work in D.C. that say they don’t live here,” she said. “Taxi cab drivers, waiters, and waitresses say they can’t live here. I have a son who lives with me and he works with me but cannot afford his own place. Longtime D.C. residents should be able to stay here, too.”
Allen said it saddens her that some people who were educated in the District’s school system cannot fill out an employment application. “When you get a D.C. diploma it should stand for something,” she said.
Allen said she wants inclusive economic development and community engagement with the city’s changing demographics. African-American women are the largest racial-gender electoral bloc in the District but there is only one on the D.C. Council, at-large Democrat Anita Bonds, and Allen said that’s not right.
“Black women are wholly under-represented on the council and I appreciate Anita’s efforts,” she said. “That’s needs to change. Black women need more voices on the council.”