DATE: Jun 3, 2020
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Washington, D.C. — Following Tuesday night’s historic victory for Janeese Lewis-George in the Ward 4 D.C. Council primary election, the Metro D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America issued the following statement:
Metro D.C. DSA would like to congratulate our fellow chapter member and future D.C. Councilmember Janeese Lewis George on her historic victory over incumbent Brandon Todd in Tuesday’s primary election. At a moment when our city is facing a public health crisis, a righteous uprising against tyrannical policing, and a military occupation, it is a benison to the people of the District that we will have Janeese’s passion, temerity, and leadership to help guide us through the months and years to come.
While we are ecstatic about these results, we cannot forget that this election required voters to persevere through unacceptable challenges to exercise their rights. The D.C. Board of Elections (BOE) failed to send absentee ballots to all voters who requested them and failed to adequately prepare for in-person Election Day turnout, leading to wait times in excess of six hours in certain locations. Additionally, the curfew instituted as part of the city’s crackdown on peaceful protests fell one hour before polls closed, forcing many voters to choose whether to stay and vote or risk harassment by law enforcement. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. BOE Chair Michael Bennett must be held accountable for these failures.
Our city is no stranger to the injustices that have sparked our nation’s present righteous uprising. The marble monuments and government palaces of downtown Washington were built by the stolen labor of stolen people. In the present day, the everyday injustices of poverty, gentrification, and disenfranchisement disproportionately fall upon our Black and brown neighbors, while the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)—the largest per capita police force in the nation—behaves as an occupying force in our city, terrorizing the most vulnerable. But at the same time, our history has seen Black leaders found one of the largest historically Black universities in the nation, create a thriving Black cultural capital on U Street, and fight for and win home rule, among thousands of other meaningful accomplishments that have made our city the incredibly special place it is today.
This is the tradition our comrade Janeese Lewis George will uphold, fight for, and revive as a councilmember. We are honored to fight alongside her for democratic socialist values in our city, including through expanding rent control and strengthening tenants’ rights, ensuring quality public education for all, ending the city’s collaboration with ICE, and, in this watershed moment, overhauling policing in our city.
Councilmember Todd and his deep-pocketed friends in the charter school lobby spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a campaign designed to deceive Ward 4 voters about Janeese’s commitment to police reform and accountability. Working-class voters of Ward 4 saw through these lies to their own experiences with our out-of-control police department and rejected Todd for his refusal to hold MPD to account.
Congratulations to Janeese and her team, the Metro D.C. DSA members who overcame a difficult campaign landscape and spent countless hours supporting her campaign, and the workers of Ward 4 and our entire city who will have in Janeese their strongest governing ally in recent history.
We look forward to Janeese’s victory in November and her swearing in as a member of the D.C. Council. In the meantime, we will see you all in the streets as we come together to demand justice for our Black neighbors, the defunding of the MPD, and an end to Donald Trump’s fascist occupation of our city.