The DC Voice believes that elections should be more than popularity or name recognition contests. It’s each voter’s responsibility to learn more about the person we ask to represent us. We recently published a post (Grosso Announcement Opens At-Large Floodgates) highlighting how Councilman Grosso’s decision not to run for re-election had “opened the floodgates” for the At-Large seat. We reached out to those candidates to offer them an opportunity to make their case on why you should cast your vote for them.
My name is Jeanné Lewis.
I’m a nonprofit executive, faith-based organizer, and candidate for DC Council At Large. I’m running because I have a vision to make DC our home — a place where you can live your entire life and thrive.
Right now, that vision is hard for many of us to see because we are getting pushed out of our homes and forced to watch our neighborhoods sold off to the highest bidder. This is because leaders are making decisions for a temporary town. They do not see us as residents with a long-term vision for our families, but rather line items in a spreadsheet that can be swapped out at convenience.
We need a councilmember who not only shares our experiences, but also knows our communities and is committed to equity across all eight wards. I have the perspective to be that councilmember and the professional experience to get the job done.
When I read the news every morning, I don’t just see stories. I see myself, my neighbors, and my community. From Georgetown Visitation to Good Hope Road, my life touches the entire district. I live in Ward 7, my church, St. Augustine is in Ward 1, my high school was in Ward 2. While these are very different worlds, that is the exact perspective that is missing on the council.
I believe that homeownership is a critical wealth building tool and I was able to purchase my first home at 23 because I had the help of a first time homebuyer’s program. My commitment to helping others secure sustainable, affordable housing inspired me to get involved with DC Tenants Union and protect the rights of renters across the city. Currently, the high cost of living and the lack of affordable housing prevents people who want to make DC their long-term home, from ever doing so.
I’ve spent my career building bridges, bringing diverse stakeholders together to solve shared problems, and closing equity gaps by creating sustainable pathways to self-empowerment, not trapping people in already unstable safety-net systems.
As the vice president and chief engagement officer at the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy, I push grantmakers to invest more grant dollars in social justice nonprofits they often exclude. As the director of US Programs at Search for Common Ground, I led constructive conversations between community, corporate, and government leaders about racism to understand the impact of previous policies and to develop solutions that create more equity.
As we work to rebuild DC’s economy, I will reject the school of thought that suggests leaving some people behind is acceptable. I will invest in local, small businesses that keep wealth within our city. I will advance cooperative models for housing and business where residents and employees can share in the profit. I will lead our city in reimagining what community safety looks like. Police cannot be the center of our conversation. We have to transform the entire ecosystem of our communities, by investing in infrastructure, funding the right programs and giving them time to work.
We know that when a family faces a crisis, we face it together. We need our councilmembers to feel and act the same way. I believe it’s time for a new vision for DC and it’s our time. Thank you for your support on Nov. 3.