By Cara Williams and Deborah Bailey
Robert C. White Jr., is using the platforms he has been given during this election season’s mayoral debates to re-introduce himself to District voters and brand himself as the “problem solver” who can address a host of problems that have metastasized and spilled over into the streets of the Nation’s Capitol within the past 24 months.
At the recent Mayoral Debate Hosted by the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, the 5th generation Washingtonian said he was a problem solver, who has already delivered for the District.
“To get to where I am today I had to learn to become a problem solver,” White said.
“For the past 15 years I have worked in all three branches of government, in the federal and local level and I have used those skills to deliver for the District of Columbia,” White continued stating his qualifications and experience during the recent Office of Campaign Finance Debate, which featured White and his three competitors for the D.C. Mayor’s race.
White said the District’s violent crime plaguing the city, academic problems with DC Public Schools students, and the high cost of living in the District are all at crisis levels.
“We need a problem solver as mayor,” White said. “On day one I am ready to implement my public safety plan and make the District more affordable for DC families,” he said.
White makes a clean break with the current mayor with respect to the District’s housing crisis.
“We don’t need a single additional luxury one bedroom condo in our city,” he said. “What we need is housing for the DVS clerk who makes $40,000, for government employees that make $50 -90,000, and housing for families and for seniors,” White said
“We need to protect the affordable housing we have now because we have slum lords running amuck with no enforcement from this administration,” he said.
White continued that lack of options for families and moderate income Washngtonians is responsible for pushing people into homelessness.
Robert White woke up to his potential as a problem solver after suffering a series of set-backs early in life. White lost his mother to breast cancer as a child, and a month later he was involved in a near-fatal accident that left him with a severe head injury.
Subsequently, White fell behind in his studies from the third grade to the tenth grade. People began to write him off.
In opposition to predictions of his high school guidance counselor who told him he would never go to college, White not only went to college at St. Mary’s in Southern Maryland, but continued on to American University Law School, entered the legal profession and used his training as cession and became a lawyer, and worked on Capitol Hill.
When asked about the uptick in violent crime at the June 1 Georgetown University-Fox-5 debate, White articulated a multi-pronged strategy including a focus on both police and an expansion and coordination of violence intervention strategies.
“The mayor has told you she has a plan, but throwing money at everything is not a plan,” White said.
Additionally, White said the key is getting support to survivors of crime.
“I’ve been to too many funerals of young people watching other young people shed tears. And those tears are turning into hardened trauma,” White said.
“That is going to replicate crime if we don’t get them the resources they need before they turn to acts of violence,” White said to cheers from the audience.
Moving from the seat of struggles to the positions of decision-making in the District, White attributes his success to the support from his church family and his father.
“My family really wrapped around me and kept me protected long enough so I could get my footing,” White said.
The 40-year-old fifth-generation Washingtonian is married to Christy White, who he met in law school. They are the parents of “two young queens”, Madison, five, and Monroe, three.
“My wife was my wing woman in law school,” White said, “law school friends that fell in love,” he continued.
After law school, White clerked for the Maryland District Court for Montgomery County before joining D.C. Delegate Elanor Holmes Norton’s Office as legislative Council. .
In 2014, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine appointed White as the first Director of Community Outreach for the D.C. Office of Attorney General.
In 2016, White was elected At-Large to the D.C. Council, where he currently serves.
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