Eugene D. Kinlow is a candidate for the Ward 8 D.C. Council seat. (Photo Courtesy of Kinlow Campaign)

Eugene D. Kinlow is one of 15 candidates in the April 28 special election to fill the Ward 8 vacancy on the D.C. Council. He is involved with persuading Congress to grant the District political representation and preventing a private prison and trash transfer station in Ward 8.

One of the District’s leading progressive activists, he wants to use his decades of experience to make Ward 8 a viable economic engine that will benefit its residents.

Kinlow said that based on his years of advocacy and deep knowledge of the ward, he is the best person for the voters to send to the John A. Wilson Building. “I have lived in Ward 8 since the 1960s,” Kinlow said. “I have the vision, experience, leadership and a plan for the ward. When I was a child, Ward 8 had sit-down restaurants, grocery stores and movie theaters and we don’t have that now and I want to change that.”

Kinlow is the scion of a prominent Ward 8 political family. His father, Eugene Kinlow, served as an at-large member, as president of the D.C. Board of Education, and on the D.C. Control Board.

The candidate’s wife, Tonya, served on the D.C. Board of Education as an at-large member also.

In the 2002 general election for one of the two at-large council seats, Kinlow, an independent, got 9.14 percent of the vote in a race dominated by D.C. Council incumbents Phil Mendelson (D) and David Catania (R).

Kinlow said that Muriel Bowser, now the District’s mayor, was an active volunteer in the 2002 campaign. “My family and  the Bowsers go way back,” he said.

Kinlow has been president of the Bellevue Civic Association and the Ward 8 Democrats, and represented the ward on the D.C. Democratic State Committee. He was a radio talk show co-host of the “D.C. Politics Hour” on WPFW and worked as the public affairs director at D.C. Vote, a non-profit that seeks to get the District a vote in Congress.

He served 10 years as a member of the University of the District of Columbia Board of Trustees, is presently vice chairperson of Washington East Foundation, and has been a board member of Cultural Tourism DC, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the District’s neighborhoods and landmarks. If elected to the council, Kinlow said he will focus on developing the land adjacent to the Anacostia Metro Station.

“If you look where the Anacostia station is located, it is a crossroads,” Kinlow said. “It is located a few feet from the Suitland Parkway that goes into Prince George’s County, several yards from I-295 that is part of the I-95 system, and short trip to South Capitol Street and right next to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. The station’s location is considered prime and is ripe for commercial, retail, and housing developments.”

Kinlow wants to provide more jobs for young people and make massive investments in housing, particularly workforce housing where public employees such as teachers and public safety officers can stay in the city.

Kinlow, who graduated from Ballou Senior High School in 1979 after attending Ward 8 schools throughout his childhood, wants all schools in the ward to be of high quality.  “We need to stop sending our children to schools in other parts of the city,” he said.

Kinlow said he can deliver for the ward at the Wilson Building because he knows all of the council members and they know he means business. “All of the members of the council know that I’m an honest broker,” he said.

Sandy Allen, who represented the ward on the council from 1997-2005, supports LaRuby May for the council and has had political fights with Kinlow, but she respects him. “He has the right to run ,” she said. “He has been a resident of the ward for a long time.”

Markus Batchelor, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in the ward, said Kinlow is worthy of a look. “His son and I worked on the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute together and I also worked with him on projects led by DC Vote,” Batchelor said. “To me, he was always supportive and a source of encouragement.”