Washington, D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) announced Nov. 15 that he will run for a third term on the city’s legislative body, and it appears he has strong support through the region.
Kenyan McDuffie has decided to run for another term as D.C.’s Ward 5 Council member. (Courtesy photo)
McDuffie is the chairman of the council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development. He served a previous term as the head of the Judiciary Committee.
McDuffie told a crowd of 200 at the Ivy City Smokehouse in Northeast D.C. that he is committed to making the District a better place to live.
“When we started off this journey in 2012, we set out to preserve and build affordable housing, to protect seniors and the most vulnerable from being pushed out of the city, to build schools we can be proud of, to improve public safety and government accountability, and to restore the commercial corridors that bring jobs, goods and services into our neighborhoods,” the council member said. “Looking back, I am proud to see how far we have come in achieving these goals. It has truly taken the effort of the whole community banded together.”
McDuffie did not offer any positions on specific current issues at the campaign kickoff event, but is seen by political professionals as progressive on social issues and moderate when it comes to business and economic development.
Among the notables present for McDuffie’s announcement was Virginia Lieutenant Governor-elect Justin Fairfax (D), D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks (D), who is running for Prince George’s County Executive in next year’s election.
Since his initial election in 2012 and his successful re-election in 2014, McDuffie is credited with pushing criminal justice reform with a bent toward mental health treatment for offenders rather than incarceration. He has also supported economic development in his ward in areas such as Brookland, with a new shopping and restaurant area near Catholic University as well as Fort Lincoln and Fort Totten developments.
Ward 5 covers a large portion of Northeast D.C. with a sliver into the Northwest quadrant. The ward is 76 percent Black, according to 2017 census statistics, with middle-class enclaves such as Michigan Park, North Michigan Park and Brookland as well as gentrifying areas such as Ivy City, Trinidad and Bloomingdale.
McDuffie is a District native who graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, Howard University and the University of Maryland School of Law. He has worked as an aide to D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), as an assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, as a litigator with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and as a policy professional with the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety in the mayoral administration of Vincent Gray.
McDuffie was elected to the D.C. Council in a May 2012 special election following Harry Thomas Jr. stepping down from his position. One of McDuffie’s opponents during that special election was Frank Wilds, who is now a supporter.
“I am behind Kenyan 100 percent,” Wilds told the AFRO. “He has done an outstanding job. His constituent services operation is one of the best among D.C. council members.”
Wilds, who is a well-known Democratic activist in Ward 5 and has served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner, said that McDuffie is a “fine young man and a family man.”
Ken Fealing is a Ward 5 resident who thinks that McDuffie should be re-elected but said the council member has some things he needs to work on.
“I wish his constituent services staffers were better,” Fealing told the AFRO. “It’s hard to contact them sometimes.”
McDuffie’s only opponent so far is Ward 5 advisory neighborhood commissioner Gayle Carley, who represents single-member district 5B01. The Democratic primary is June 16, and the general election is Nov. 6.