Brooke's Briefing: A look back on 2021

Posted by
Genevieve Hulick
December 31, 2021

Dear Neighbor,  

Happy New Year! As 2021 comes to a close, we reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. With your support, we have been able to achieve a lot together. When I look back on 2021, I am reminded of the strength, resolve, and character of District residents. During difficult times, we rally around one another and, in particular, reach out to our neighbors with the greatest needs. I am proud of you and what we have accomplished together, especially given the many challenges before us.

We started 2021 with uncertainty – uncertainty about the availability of a vaccine, schools reopening, and recovery for workers and businesses. We have made great strides over the last several months to get residents vaccinated and boosted, keeping schools open and our kids in the classroom, supporting renters to stay in their homes, and getting residents back to work and providing economic relief for businesses. I hope you will read more about some of the progress we made together below! There is much to be proud of as we worked collectively towards these goals, but we know there is more work to be done. As COVID continues to spread in our community, I know we have learned how to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe. I know this is a frustrating continuation of an almost two-year long pandemic, but as always, we will get through it together.  

As we head into another year, I am motivated to pursue legislative ideas for affordable housing, improving public safety, downtown recovery, women’s rights, increasing voting rights, safer streets, equity and inclusion for minority residents, environmental protections, better conditions at our DC Jail, supports for our neighbors experiencing homelessness, reducing gun violence, and supporting our hospitality, tourism, retail, arts, and cultural industries. I can’t wait to do this with and on your behalf and fueled by your ideas and inputs.

It has been a privilege to serve as your Ward 2 Councilmember and I thank you for your engagement, ideas, passions, and continued communication with me and my team. I remain committed and devoted to make our communities even stronger. I look forward to working with you this coming year. Thank you for your commitment to our great city!  

Yours in Service,  


Community Engagement

Supporting Students & Families

Seniors & LGTBQQIA+ Community

Affordable Housing & Homelessness

Public Safety

Economic Development & Small Business

Clean & Connected Communities: Transportation & Environment

Ward 2 Redistricting

Community Engagement

Councilmember Pinto’s team remains committed to making direct community outreach and engagement its number one priority. Throughout a variety of events this year, Team Pinto has stayed connected with thousands of Ward 2 residents, ensuring their ideas, concerns, and insights are gathered and acted upon. Some of the public events this year included:

Councilmember Pinto enjoyed meeting hundreds of neighbors this year and looks forward to more Community Office Hours in 2022.

Supporting Students & Families

Councilmember Pinto knows this has been a difficult school year for students, teachers, and parents, and she is grateful for the strong advocacy to ensure that everyone is safe while returning to in-person learning.  She knows we need to continue to push DCPS to strengthen safety protocols, increase transparency, and better support teachers and families. This year, Councilmember Pinto participated in school readiness tours at all DCPS schools in Ward 2 meeting with staff, students and families.  

As a result of parent and teacher advocacy, the Council passed voted to expand virtual learning options to students whose doctors recommend they do not attend in-person classes, to require schools to give notice of a positive case in a classroom, and to mandate progressive COVID-19 asymptomatic testing.  After the Council passed that legislation, Councilmember Pinto continued to ask the Mayor and DCPS to provide additional support for teachers and staff so that the new health protocols did not place additional burdens on them.  The Mayor then announced that each school will be assigned a COVID Strategy and Logistics Coordinator to oversee and implement new protocols. Each school will also be assigned a full-time substitute teacher.

As the vaccine has become available for more ages, Councilmember Pinto supported making COVID vaccines required for student athletes and for all eligible students for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.  

Councilmember Pinto has also worked to ensure kids are safe in school and traveling to and from school. Councilmember Pinto has worked with the Department of General Services to expedite maintenance requests especially at Thomson Elementary and Garrison Elementary and she has worked with DDOT to make improvements around Ross Elementary and Thomson Elementary. This fall, Councilmember Pinto also co-introduced school and pedestrian safety bills.  

The Expanding Student Access to Period Products Act introduced by Councilmember Pinto this year requires that free period products be provided in District public, public charter, and private schools and post-secondary institutions. This legislation also requires that the District of Columbia’s State Office of the Superintendent of Schools (OSSE) develop and implement comprehensive menstrual health education standards. Councilmember Pinto secured funding for the Expanding Student Access to Period Products Act in this year’s budget and it is expected to be implemented this spring.  

Councilmember Pinto enjoyed speaking with dozens of college students this year at Georgetown University, George Washington University and American University. Whenever speaking with university students, Councilmember Pinto reminds them to use their gifts and talents to be active and generous participants in their local communities.  

Councilmember Brooke Pinto introduced the “Fairness in Use and Negotiation for All Recreational Property Act of 2021.” The purpose of the FUN for All Act is to ensure that all residents have fair access to District owned recreational property. The FUN for All Act requires  meaningful public engagement and Council oversight of all exclusive use or license agreements for District-owned recreational property that cover a period of one year or more. All District residents deserve access to our recreation centers and fields and any changes to this access should require community engagement and oversight.

Councilmember Pinto joined faculty, staff and ANC Commissioners for school readiness tours to ensure buildings were in good condition to welcome back students and teachers. (School Without Walls at Francis Stevens)

Seniors and LGTBQQIA+ Community

This summer Councilmember Pinto worked with the Nationals baseball team to honor the Ward 2 Senior Villages (Foggy Bottom/West End, Georgetown and Dupont Circle.) Councilmember Pinto went out onto the field with the directors of the villages and then enjoyed the game distributing hundreds of tickets to members of the villages and neighbors.  Councilmember Pinto knows how much our seniors have and continue to contribute to us. From their many contributions to the arts and sciences, medicine, business, education, and so many more fields, they have made our world and our communities better. Our senior villages are a very important representation of the District’s commitment to ensuring that our seniors receive all of the love they’ve put into our communities, and Councilmember Pinto was pleased to honor them at the Nationals game!

Our LGBTQQIA+ friends, family, coworkers and neighbors are an integral part of our city. DC has a rich LGBTQQIA+ history and Councilmember Pinto is committed to providing support, protections, and funding to ensure DC remains a welcoming home for our LGBTQQIA+ neighbors. Last year, Councilmember Pinto wrote an op-ed in the Washington Blade about the need to urgently ban the use of the gay and trans panic defense that had been used to uphold violent, homophobic and transphobic actions in the court of law.  This year’s budget fully funded the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act so that the DC Office of Human Rights has the staff needed to oversee the implementation of the law which bans the gay and trans panic defense. This year’s budget included funding for dedicated housing vouchers to prevent the isolation of LGBTQQIA+ seniors, a study of the LGBTQQIA+ community business economy, a full-time LGBTQ Coordinator at the Office of Veterans Affairs, and funds to support the development and construction of a new LGBTQQIA+ Community Center.

Councilmember Pinto met with members of the Foggy Bottom/ West End Village to discuss the issues that matter most to our Seniors.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

During the pandemic, Councilmember Pinto’s office has worked closely with Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and residents alike, to ensure that all who need relief know how to find it. We have seen too many residents and their families burdened by the loss of employment and a lack of economic stability. Fortunately, with the help of federal funds, the District government launched STAY DC, the financial assistance program that provide rent and utility assistance to District residents. Throughout the course of STAY DC over this past year over $220 million in relief was distributed to assist residents with rent and utilities.  

This year’s FY22 budget included tens of millions of dollars of housing vouchers to move thousands of neighbors experiencing homelessness into housing. The Mayor’s office is now deploying those vouchers and is using a pilot program to expedite the process. The pilot program has the goal of moving neighbors into housing and then cleaning up the encampment sites.  There are three sites for the pilot program one of which is in Foggy Bottom/ West End and Councilmember Pinto is working with the Mayor’s office to expand the program to other sites around Ward 2 to move neighbors experiencing homelessness into housing quickly.  

Councilmember Pinto attended the vaccine clinic at Claridge Towers, managed by the DC Housing Authority

Public Safety

Councilmember Pinto knows that we must continue working together to address neighborhood safety. Everyone deserves to feel safe in our city, and since joining the Council, Councilmember Pinto has made finding a comprehensive approach to address public safety and justice a top priority. Councilmember has joined neighbors and MPD for public safety walks throughout Ward 2 and for tours and ride-a-longs in areas where unsafe activities have occurred and been reported.

Councilmember Pinto has also met virtually and in person with neighbors, the US Attorney’s office and the DC Office of Attorney General to discuss the rolls we all can play to keep our community safe and prevent incidents of crime. Furthermore, Councilmember Pinto continues to work with public partners – including Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and District government agencies – to ensure that everything from increasing hiring of MPD officers, to street patrolling, to violence interruption programs, to street lighting, and public access to video footage and accountability works for our collective good.

Councilmember Pinto joined Chief Contee for National Night Out for community building with neighbors and MPD.  

Economic Development & Small Business

Supporting our small businesses and entrepreneurs has been a priority for Councilmember Pinto. Councilmember Pinto introduced and secured funding to expand the Great Streets program to Ward 2. Prior to this year’s application cycle, Ward 2 was the only ward in the city not to be included in the program. The “Great Streets Amendment Act of 2021” extends the existing Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenue corridors through Ward 2, the 14th and U corridor south to L St, and the 7th Street/Georgia Avenue corridor to include Chinatown.  Small businesses make each of our neighborhoods unique, they create a sense of community, enrich our daily lives, and are key to making Ward 2 such an amazing place to live.

Currently under Council review, in July Councilmember Pinto introduced the Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive Amendment Act of 2021 (BEST Act) which will simplify and streamline the business licensing process to make it easier and more affordable for entrepreneurs and small business owners.  

Councilmember Pinto also introduced the RECOVERY Amendment Act of 2021 in October. This act’s primary purpose is to provide a comprehensive and inclusive economic recovery package for the Central Business District (CBD) which includes the Downtown and Golden Triangle Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). Key components of this act include:

Councilmember Pinto supported some of our youngest entrepreneurs at the Rose Park Farmers Market

Clean & Connected Communities: Transportation & Environment

Making our streets and sidewalks safe for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers has been an important part of Councilmember Pinto’s policy and constituent services work this past year. Vision Zero is a goal to have zero traffic fatalities and Councilmember Pinto has worked with neighbors, the District Department of Transportation and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to make improvements throughout Ward 2. Councilmember Pinto and her team hosted a North Dupont Transportation Safety Walk as well as participated in Ross Elementary’s walk to school day. Councilmember Pinto is particularly proud of work to expand bike lanes across Ward 2 including the 17th Street bike lane.  

Expanding electrical vehicle charging is an important part of our city’s plan to help combat climate change. Councilmember Pinto secured $10 million in the FY22 budget to acquire an old gas station in Georgetown to convert it into an EV charging site.  

This year, Councilmember Pinto voted to increase the qualifications for the Public Service Commission to ensure that commissioners have experience in electric grid modernization and renewable energy integration or technology and, where possible, issues affecting the environment as well as consumer protection.Councilmember Pinto has also been working closely with community advocates to ensure that zero waste language is included in the Re-Open DC bill so that businesses in commercial lifestyle centers are required to use reusable cups. In addition, this fall, Councilmember Pinto joined the leaders of the first DC Marathon Swim. She remains committed to making sure our waterways are a clean natural resource for all to enjoy and will continue working to make the Potomac and Anacostia rivers swimmable.

Councilmember Pinto joined neighbors for an Earth Day community clean-up.

Ward 2 Redistricting

Councilmember Pinto is grateful and proud to have seen so many Ward 2 neighbors participate in the redistricting process through actions such as testifying, emailing and calling. Having everyone’s voices heard is an essential component of this process.  

Councilmember Pinto is thrilled to see that many of our current Ward 2 residents will remain in Ward 2, including the neighborhoods in Burleith, North Dupont Circle, Chinatown / Penn Quarter which were under consideration for transfer to other wards. The current proposal also reunites the Shaw neighborhood into one ward, adding about 12,000 residents to Ward 2. Councilmember Pinto is disappointed that residents in Judiciary Square will no longer be in Ward 2, nor would the courts, Building Museum, or Capital Jewish Museum.

Team Pinto looks forward to meeting all new neighbors that will join the Ward 2 community. Councilmember Pinto pledges to represent new residents with the same openness and earnestness as all of our current constituents!  

Councilmember Pinto voted with her colleagues to finalize the new Ward boundaries during the last legislative meeting of the year.

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