By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
It was a spirited morning as Mayor Muriel Bowser, and several members of the D.C. Council were sworn in as part of several #DCProud2019 events last week.
“Today I follow in the footsteps of Marion Barry and Anthony Williams and take this oath for a second time,” Bowser said to a round of applause, as the first woman in D.C. history to be sworn into a second term. “I do not view a second term as a chance to warm the seat. But to think and act boldly as we work together to take on our toughest challenges.”
Hundreds of residents and government workers gathered at the Walter E. Washington Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC 20001, to watch their elected officials take oaths of office to D.C.
Also being sworn in were: Brianne K. Nadeau (Ward 1), Mary M. Cheh (Ward 3), Kenyan R. McDuffie (Ward 5), Charles Allen (Ward 6), Elissa Silverman (At-Large) Anita D. Bonds (At-Large) and Phil Mendelson (Chairman). This was the first time since 2002 that all D.C. Council members were reelected, according to Mendelson.
The Honorable Karl A. Racine was also sworn into office for another term as the District’s first and at this point only Attorney General, having first been elected to the new position in 2015.
Rock Newman, executive producer and host of the Rock Newman Show on WHUT TV, presided as the master of ceremonies. He introduced the mayor as “a sister of the soul, born here, reared here. Someone who loves the city and is attempting to make it a place where all feel lifted and abundantly cared for.”
Bowser’s oath was administered by the Honorable Anna Blackburne Rigsby, chief judge, D.C.’s Court of Appeals.
With her first term firmly behind her Bowser pointed out some of the city’s many accomplishments like a balanced budget and Triple A Bond rating as signs of progress for the city. The mayor added that work still needs to be done.
“We are only as strong as a city as a ward that struggles the most,” Bowser said. “You cannot represent the District of Columbia as a whole and not reflect that in your words, actions and budget decisions.”
“You cannot lead with the District of Columbia as a whole without placing yourself at the footsteps of the immigrant living in daily fear, as the Trans woman that lives constantly with the thought that nobody cares about her life or her safety. Or the person of faith concerned about bombings or shootings in his or her synagogue or church.”
Among the key initiatives to be pushed in 2019 will be the fight for D.C. to become the 51st State in the U.S.
“We went to a tower in New York and to the oval office to tell them who we are, that we pay our own way and we want control of federal land in Washington D.C.,” Bowser said. “D.C. demands statehood now.”
“In 2016 you voted overwhelmingly to create our new constitution, boundaries and form a representative government. And my eyes have not seen nor have my ears heard any reason to stop fighting until we receive D.C. statehood and we’re going to start in a Democratic House.”
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton echoed that agenda earlier in the ceremony.
“If you pay taxes you deserve a vote on those taxes,” Norton said. “No taxation without representation. We’ll test the founder’s principle by demanding a vote on statehood for the D.C.”
Bowser said one of her biggest goals in the next term was “a relentless commitment to a fair shot for every D.C. resident period.”
That idea of “fair shot” meant several things, from reducing the spike in the city’s murder rate, closing the income disparity gap and affordable housing and better education for all.
Wanda Gattison, who works as a public information officer for the Office of Unified Communications in Ward 8 was excited to support the mayor’s efforts in the city.
“I’m here to support the mayor of course,” Gattison said. “I am so excited, as a woman. I’m so proud she was elected for a second term. I think that’s an amazing accomplishment.”
“I’m excited to see women and particularly young women doing so well.”