IN FAVOR: Nikko B.
My name is Nikko, and I’ve been a Metro DC DSA member since 2017 and I am sponsoring a resolution for us to endorse Ed Lazere for DC council at-large. Ed is a DSA member and founder of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. I believe we should endorse Ed because he shares our values and electing him along with Janeese would tilt the balance of power away from real estate developers and big business interests and push the council towards a vision of local government for the many not the few.
Over the last 20 years Ed has demonstrated a solid record of fighting for economic, racial and social justice in the District. He has worked closely with labor to win hard fought victories like increasing the minimum wage, winning paid sick days, and enacting and protecting paid family leave. Ed has shown a real willingness to fight for key moral issues like opposing increases to MPD’s budget, resisting the privatization of public housing, and strengthening wage theft enforcement. In a city where many politicians want to claim they are champions for working people while also supporting ruthless austerity Ed understands that we need to go beyond rhetoric and ensure that the city’s budget prioritizes the needs of the working class. Ed has fought to increase the top income tax rate and stood against tax cuts for the rich and corporate tax subsidies. He has also led efforts to deepen the city’s social safety net, fully fund ward 7 and 8 schools and fought back against cuts to United Medical Center, the only hospital east of the Anacostia River. Ed’s budget expertise is especially relevant to our current moment given the massive budgeting issue we face due to COVID 19. Ed believes that instead of slashing social programs DC should use its $1.4 billion in reserves proactively to help our communities and tackle the city’s ongoing crisis of inequality.
By electing Ed we have the chance to ensure Janeese has an ally in many hard fights to come. Ed fully supports the Reclaim Rent Control Campaign. At DCFPI, he was part of the Reclaim Rent Control campaign, helped it develop talking points and fact sheets, testified before the Council. Ed also supports:
- Defunding MPD
- Providing support for excluded workers
- Decriminalizing sex work
- Efforts to unionize teachers in public charter schools and setting minimum pay standards for those charter school teachers
- Ending misclassification by rideshare companies
- Repealing the tipped minimum wage
- Stopping the endless procession of tax break giveaways to developers and big corporation
- Winning fair scheduling for all workers
- Fully funding DC’s new early childhood program “Birth to Three”
Finally I just want to speak a bit about the context of this race. After a major loss in ward 4 DFER, big business, and the mayor will not be eager to concede another seat. In fact on Friday it came out that former council member and current CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce Vincent Orange is thinking about joining the race specifically to run against Ed. In Ward 1 in 2018 and Ward 4 earlier this month our chapter demonstrated that we can elect DSA candidates despite fierce opposition when we work in partnership with a larger labor-left alliance and strong grassroots campaigns. In 2018 Ed was endorsed by 350 DC and the Washington Teachers Union and his current treasurer is Jos Williams, former president of the Metropolitan Labor Council. He has already earned the support of over 900 DC small dollar donors, in the previous reporting deadline Ed even had 155 more individual donors than incumbent Robert White. Ed has also received the support of major players in Janeese’s coalition like Attorney general Karl Racine and Jews United for Justice.
Ed is running a principled and strong campaign and by electing him we have a chance to ensure Janeese has another DSA elected to back her up on the council. I hope you join me in voting to endorse Ed so that we can elect a council member that will break with the failed politics of municipal austerity and gentrification that has dominated the District and instead stand up for tenants, for workers, for unhoused people, and for all those struggling to make ends meet.