Jeannette Mobley hopes to return Ward 5 Democrats to the place of prominence they once held in Washington, D.C. politics.
Mobley was sworn in as President of the Ward 5 Democrats along with her fellow officers at a Sept. 25 meeting at the University of the District of Columbia Community College’s Backus campus.
“I have been a member of the Ward 5 Democrats for 30 years,” Mobley said in her inaugural remarks. She added that she learned a lot about Ward 5 and city politics under such individuals as late D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Sr. “This organization is my heart. We had gotten to a point where we are lucky to get 10-15 people to a meeting,” she said.
The Sept. 25 meeting was held in the school’s auditorium, and was attended by 75 people.
Seventy-six percent of Ward 5 residents are Black, with neighboring Ward 4’s residents being 58 percent Black, according to the 2016-2017 statistics published on the website Suburbanstats.org.
Ward 5 is located predominantly in Northeast D.C., and consists of Black middle-class neighborhoods such as Michigan Park and North Michigan Park, gentrifying areas such as Bloomingdale, Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue, and economically struggling districts such as Ivy City and Trinidad.
Ward 5 presently is tied with Ward 6 as having the largest number of residents, and the most D.C. Council members, including Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), David Grosso (I-At Large), and Anita Bonds (D-At Large). D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) was born and raised in Ward 5, and currently lives in Ward 4.
Mobley served as chief of staff for McDuffie and was appointed to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and the Local Opportunity Business Commission by D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams (D). She is a founding charter member of the Washington, D.C. Hall of Fame and has worked at executive level positions in Bell Atlantic, Verizon, and AT&T.
A graduate of Trinity University, Mobley served two terms as financial secretary for the Ward 5 Democrats and has been on the D.C. Democratic State Committee.
Mobley also detailed her agenda for her two-year term.
“We will work to increase our membership and voter education in the ward,” she said. “I checked with the D.C. Board of Elections and they told me that Ward 5 has 51,879 registered Democrats and that is the second highest in the city, with Ward 6 having the most. Historically, precincts 66 and 67 have had the highest voter turnout in elections but now they have been replaced by precincts 74, Noyes Elementary School and 19, Dunbar High School.”
Mobley said turnout in elections over the past few years was “bad” and said she wants to beef up the precinct captain program to inform residents of electoral and political developments in their neighborhood and the Ward. She also indicated that a strategic plan for the organization will be presented at the Oct. 23 meeting.
Mobley was elected to her post on July 17, with Bernita Carmichael as first vice president, Timothy Thomas second vice president, Pearline Danner third vice president, Debra Truhart as corresponding secretary, Bill Lewis as treasurer, and Grace Lewis as financial secretary. It was announced that Shirley Rivens Smith will serve as parliamentarian and that Robert Brannum, a former Ward 5 Democrats chairman and the assistant recording secretary, will serve sergeant-at-arms and recording secretary until the latter is elected at a later date. Outgoing chairman Ronnie Edwards was praised for his hard work and dedication to the organization and the city’s Democratic Party.
“When people run citywide they know they have to come through Ward 5. We still have to get the turnout up and raise money and get the vote out to get back to what we used to be,” McDuffie said.