On Tuesday, February 6th, DC Working Families hosted the first candidate forum of D.C.’s 2018 election cycle. The forum was held at the National Women’s Democratic Club, co-hosted by nearly 20 organizations, and attended by a capacity crowd of 400.
DC Working Families was joined by allied organizations like UNITE HERE Local 25, UFCW Local 400, DC for Democracy, 350 DC, Jews United for Justice, Fair Budget Coalition, Bread for the City, Empower DC, Stop Police Terror Project DC, and Showing Up for Racial Justice DC (SURJ-DC), among many others.
The forum was attended by all three Democratic candidates for Council Chair- incumbent Chair Phil Mendelson, Ed Lazere, and Calvin Gurley, as well as the three At-large Democratic challengers to Councilmember Anita Bonds- Jeremiah Lowery, Marcus Goodwin, and Aaron Holmes.
Candidates were asked their stance on a wide range of issues that are priorities for DC Working Families, including Paid Family Leave, full funding for Fair Elections, affordable housing, the NEAR Act, and regulations on Air BnB.
The Washington Post reported on the event:
At a Tuesday evening forum, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), a longtime, low-key lawmaker steeped in the nuances of governance, sparred for the first time with challenger Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, an influential liberal think tank.
Facing a challenge from the left, Mendelson urged fiscal caution and defended his record on progressive issues, from increasing the minimum wage to legalizing same-sex marriage. Lazere said the city needs bolder leadership to address an affordable-housing crisis and racial inequality.
The forum was hosted by the D.C. Working Families Party and a constellation of progressive groups — friendly territory for a liberal advocate like Lazere.