(From top left clockwaise) LaRuby May, Anthony Muhammad, Trayon White, and Greta Fuller are just a few of the candidates in the Ward 8 race. (Courtesy Photos)
The race for the Ward 8 D.C. Council vacancy is coming to a close with the April 28 special election date looming. The 11 candidates vying for the council seat, available because Marion S. Barry’s death in November 2014, are scrambling across Ward 8 to get as much support as they can.
An example of courting voters was at the candidates’ forum sponsored by the Anacostia/Bellevue/Congress Heights AARP Chapter #4870 on April 8 at the Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ. During the forum, LaRuby May, Sheila Bunn, Sandra “S.S.” Seegars, Anthony Muhammad, Leonard Watson Sr., Greta Fuller, Trayon White and Keita Vanterpool articulated their views on issues affecting senior citizens.
“There are a number of issues facing our seniors,” White, a former Ward 8 D.C. State Board of Education member, said. “We need to help them to be healthy and have good, affordable transportation options. If elected, I will form a committee on seniors’ issues.”
Trayon White, a front-runner in the race, received the support of two former opponents, Jauhar Abraham and Stuart Anderson, at the forum. Candidates Marion C. Barry, Eugene D. Kinlow and Natalie Williams, didn’t participate.
Seegars, a former advisory neighborhood commissioner, supports tax breaks for seniors as well as low-interest loans to help them in their daily lives. Bunn talked about her work in the mayoral administration of Vincent C. Gray to help the District become more age-friendly and helping seniors to stay in their homes.
May said that she supports using the city’s Housing Production Trust Fund to keep seniors in their homes and wants funds to help those who are charged with raising their grandchildren. Muhammad said that the ward needs senior recreation centers to keep its elderly population engaged and healthy.
Both Fuller and Watson said that if they are elected, they will work to improve the delivery of city services to seniors. Vanterpool talked about the need for more senior political and civic engagement in the ward.
In addition to the endorsements by Abraham and Anderson, White has received the support of the Washington Teacher’s Union and Jews United for Justice.
Kinlow has gotten the support of the D.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club and he is elated about it. “For years, I have worked to protect our environmental and natural treasures,” Kinlow said. “I promise to continue to advocate on behalf of Ward 8 residents so that we have access to a clean and safe waterfront as well as one that helps attract investment and jobs for Ward 8.”
However, it is May that has gotten the bulk of endorsements. May is being supported by such organizations as the D.C. Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Service Employees International (SEIU) Maryland/D.C. State Council, National Nurses United and DC NOW, the District’s arm for the National Organization for Women.
“She will bring the leadership skills and fiscal responsibility that is needed for a successful council member,” David Julyan, chairman of Julyan & Julyan, and chair of the chamber’s political action committee, said.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has campaigned for May a number of times. May also has the support of former D.C. Council Chairman Arrington Dixon and former Ward 8 council members Sandy Allen and Eydie Whittington.
On April 1, May overwhelmingly won a straw poll at Ballou Senior High School that was sponsored by the civic groups in the ward. May said that she is pleased with the support she has gotten. “On the council, I pledge to be that bridge from the Wilson Building to the ward,” she said. “I want to get the ward where it needs to be.”