As mayor, Muriel plans to expand early childhood learning opportunities to give children a strong foundation for kindergarten and beyond.

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser, the Democratic Party nominee for mayor, has the inherent advantages of money, organization, and the party mantle to become the city’s next leader. However, she is taking nothing for granted while she campaigns and addresses concerns of District residents, particularly those who are African American and live east of the Anacostia River.

Bowser is the only African-American major candidate for mayor in the Nov. 4 general election.

Recent reports from the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance show Bowser has $1 million on hand, doubling her closest competitor, independent D.C. Council member David Catania. Bowser has the largest campaign organization with two offices: one on Georgia Avenue and the other Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, while Catania and former D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz (I) have one each.

Bowser said that she wants the District to continue to move forward. “A mayor has to have a focus on the future,” Bowser said while at the home of Rob and Linda Row in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood on Oct. 19, greeting area residents. “I love the progress that we are making in D.C. with the new restaurants opening and people are opting to send their children to public schools. I want to make sure that we have progress for all eight wards.”

While Bowser doesn’t have a specific plan designed for African Americans, she said that improving residents’ access to good jobs and a quality education will go a long way in helping the city’s Black population. “I want to build our middle class,” she said. “As mayor, I will work to close the gaps between communities in the city in regards to income, education and economic development.”

Bowser wants the District’s private sector to play an active role in solving the unemployment problem. “I will ask large private contractors who have projects to partner with the city to train and hire D.C. residents,” she said. “If you are going to build 100 widgets for me, I want to use District residents for that.”

She also wants to set up a public academy to train unemployed residents for District government jobs, particularly in areas of street maintenance and rebuilding infrastructure.

Bowser’s education plan focuses on the middle schools, with Alice Deal Middle School in Tenleytown as the model. She wants an “Alice Deal” in every ward and plans to build four more middle schools in the city by 2020.

Her plans for economic development include creating a deputy mayor for east Washington whose responsibilities will include helping businesses in Ward 7 and 8 generate capital and contracting opportunities. She is committed to finishing the long-delayed Skyland Town Center project in Ward 7 and wants to use the Great Streets improvement program to build up corridors such as Martin Luther King Avenue, Alabama Avenue, Benning Road, and Minnesota Avenue.

Bowser is interested in creating a $100 million annual fund in the budget that addresses the city’s affordable housing crisis. “A resident shouldn’t pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing,” she said. “I also believe that renovating public housing will go a long way in helping people to find a good, affordable place to stay.”

Howard Croft, a longtime political activist in the District, said he thinks that Bowser is on her way to an electoral and political promotion on Nov. 4. “Muriel Bowser is going to win this race,” Croft said. “It is going to be smooth sailing for her. One advantage that she has is that she has grown as a candidate and her opponents have not.”

LaDonna Love, who is Black, said she is for Bowser. “Muriel Bowser puts a lot of energy into what she does and I like that,” Bowser said. “I think as mayor she will put that same energy into the city.”