This week marks my two-year anniversary as your Ward 2 Councilmember!
As I reflect on the last two years in office, I am inspired by the thousands of Ward 2 and District residents I have met and learned from on our shared mission to make our city more safe, prosperous, and just. Whether it’s meeting with constituents, hosting community meetings, applying pressure to agencies, negotiating bills with my colleagues, visiting our schools and senior centers, voting on legislation, or walking in our neighborhoods, I love this job and I am so honored to do this work on your behalf and by your side.
None of our progress would be possible without the invaluable ideas from residents and collaboration from our community. I want to thank and recognize my hardworking and compassionate team who shows up every day full of enthusiasm and commitment to Ward 2 – thank you, #TeamPinto!
Over the last two years, I have remained steadfast in my commitment to supporting our small businesses in pandemic recovery, enhancing public safety, increasing access to affordable housing and reducing homelessness, fighting for the rights and opportunities of women & girls, and improving safe and sustainable transit throughout the city. I have shared in the past many of the budget wins that I helped secure for Ward 2, so today I want to share with you a few of the areas of progress we have made on our priority areas more broadly. There are many other areas of concern that my team and I work on each week, but the below are some of our achievements on your behalf.
Support for Small Businesses & Hospitality: Over the last two years, I have focused on ensuring our business community recovers and rebounds from the pandemic.
Commercial Corridors & Great Streets: Legislation I proposed expanded the Great Streets program to Ward 2 business corridors making grant funding available to dozens of businesses for the first time. I also funded a new trash compactor program for our commercial corridors in order to support our businesses and tamp down on rodent infestation challenges.
Hospitality Grants: I have focused efforts on implementing lessons learned from the pandemic like extending the streatery program and designing a grant program for the hospitality industry based on the success of grant funding for restaurants and other small businesses. Once passed and funded, I helped many businesses in their applications and ensured that the funding was available to a broad range of businesses by championing necessary tweaks to the program along the way.
Downtown Recovery: I introduced the Recovery Act which aims to reimagine our spaces downtown to be put to beneficial uses for housing – including affordable units- restaurants, retail, and green space. We’ve worked with local businesses and the Business Improvement Districts to bring people back to our spaces and will continue to ensure that our Downtown and Central Business District thrives with support for ground floor retail, providing tax incentives for conversion from office to residential, and incentivizing businesses to locate in DC.
Business Licensing: I introduced a comprehensive package to significantly streamline the licensing process to make getting into business in the District of Columbia intuitive and cost effective. My bill, the “BEST Act”, will help our entrepreneurs with the process of getting into and staying in business so they can do what they do best!
Public Safety: Everyone should feel safe and be safe in their communities. Over the last two years I have worked to ensure every part of our public safety apparatus receives the support needed to make a meaningful difference in reducing incidents of crime.
Metropolitan Police Department: I have supported our police department to ensure they have the staffing levels they need to protect our neighborhoods and for the additional work required given our location as the Nation's Capital. I have worked with MPD on community events to build relationships in our neighborhoods, participated in late night and early morning ride alongs, and identified support for housing and tuition assistance opportunities for our officers.
Jobs & Opportunities for our Youth: I hosted a jobs fair for residents looking for employment, worked to increase funding for out of school time programs for our youth, supported the transition of mental health crisis emergency calls to the Department of Behavioral Health, and funded an expansion of their response staff, brought a violence interruption team to the Shaw neighborhood.
Justice: I have hosted regular meetings with the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, and all of our public safety agencies to help resolve gaps in the criminal justice system and provide additional support to make sure that our criminal justice system is fair and just to all District residents and victims of crime.
Affordable Housing & Homelessness: Ward 2 is home to the highest number of unsheltered residents experiencing homelessness, and I have been devoted to taking steps to end chronic homelessness, move neighbors into housing, and build and maintain more affordable housing across the city. I was proud to serve on the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force to produce a series of recommendations for our city’s path forward. We have worked on a number of housing priorities in Ward 2.
Housing Vouchers & Supply: Over the last two years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been dedicated to the Housing Production Trust Fund as well as permanent supportive housing vouchers to provide housing and wrap around services to our neighbors in need of the most support. These housing vouchers are critically important in our effort to move people out of encampments and into safe and sustainable housing.
Rental Housing Strike Force: I was proud to serve on the Mayor’s “Saving DC’s Rental Housing Market Strike Force” where we worked with a diverse set of stakeholders each week to study trends and develop solutions to support our city’s supply of affordable housing stock.
Bridge Housing: I have been working with the Mayor and her team to acquire bridge housing to serve as a model to move residents off the street as they transition into supportive housing. My team and I also continue to partner with service providers and my Council colleagues to reduce barriers to housing -including paperwork and time delays - and will remain steadfast in our efforts. We will continue to support efforts to help folks move into bridge housing and permanent supportive housing so all residents can live in dignified, safe, and affordable housing.
Women & Girls: Women and girls need our support urgently here at home and around the country. I am proud of the work I have done over the last two years to enhance gender equity in the District.
Period Equity: Menstruating people have a right to basic healthcare products.
Menstrual Products in our Schools: Legislation I authored to provide menstrual products in all District schools was passed and funded! This upcoming school year, all students should have access to these products free of charge, bringing peace of mind to students who can focus on learning and not about whether or not they can afford to purchase pads or tampons.
Menstrual Products in Government Buildings: Providing these products for free is a matter of equity reassuring girls, women, and trans men that they are valued as equals. I have introduced legislation to provide menstrual products in all government buildings and will fight to get it passed this year.
Women in Business & the Arts: I have been proud to support women in the arts & business over the last two years. Women play an important role leading organizations and businesses and inspiring us with their work. It has been an honor to support women in the arts through the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities and public art projects, provide funding so that the National Children’s Musuem led by a woman would be able to reopen and recover from the pandemic, and find ways to support women in leadership roles in the hospitality industry.
Transportation & Environment: Travelling across the city should be safe and accessible for all residents. We know that transit and climate change are inextricably linked and I’ll continue to work to ensure we reach our climate goals.
Transportation Safety: I have hosted transit safety walks and bike rides with neighbors and agencies, worked with ANCs and residents to ensure DDOT makes needed road and sidewalk improvements, and supported investments in the budget for: infrastructure projects that will make traveling safer, the electrification of vehicles and charging stations in Ward 2, and miles of bike lanes.
Fighting Climate Change: I have served on the Council of Governments Transportation Board voting with regional partners to reduce emissions, joined my Council colleagues in requiring our Public Service Commission board members have experience in grid modernization, and funded important storm water management projects that protect and preserve Black history and enhance the health of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. We all have a role to play in fighting climate change, and I was proud to host community clean-ups each year in honor of Earth Day. Dozens of neighbors participated and I know that together we can make a meaningful difference in protecting our city and our planet.
I know more work lays ahead of us as we continue to fight the pandemic and strengthen our city that we are proud to call home. I know that District residents and businesses are resilient. I will continue to champion policies that make Ward 2 and our city stronger, safer, and more equitable. Thank you, as always, for your faith in me and for your partnership. I am so hopeful for the progress that lays ahead in these next two years!
Yours in Service,
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