Residents of Ward 8 have started building a stronger community identity over the last few years. Now they need a councilmember to represent that voice in the District. “People no longer want to be the last and the least. They want Ward 8 to be able to prosper for the residents now and on the pathway forward,” said local advocate and Congress Heights on the Rise blogger Nikki Peele.
Six Ward 8 residents announced their candidacy for the ward’s councilmember position at the primary election on June 14 and general election on Nov. 8. The candidates are incumbent Councilmember LaRuby May; former Ward 8 representative for the DC School Board of Education Trayon White Sr.; business entrepreneur Aaron Holmes; former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Christopher Hawthorne; and Ward 8 residents Bonita Goode and Maurice T. Dickens.
The main issues the candidates plan to campaign on include economic development, education, crime, quality affordable housing, and jobs. Although more candidates ran in past elections compared to the 2016 group of six, Peele said this election reflects a “political awakening” for Ward 8 voters. “There have been a lot of promises made to Ward 8, and those promises pretty much haven’t been fulfilled,” she said. “We want to move from a community of what happens to us to engaging and making decisions.”