As I reflect on 2020, I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the residents of Ward 2 in what has been an incredibly challenging year. We began this journey together just six short months ago, right as I was sworn into office following the special election of June 2020. Upon entering office, we were faced with a global health pandemic unlike any other in recent times, the task of passing a balanced budget amidst revenue shortfalls, and providing relief to families, students, workers, and businesses who needed it most.
At the same time, we found ourselves grappling with the harsh reality that racial inequality still pervades every corner of society in America. We worked to lead the charge in various reform efforts, finding avenues to increase transparency and accountability in our policing and judicial systems and working towards restorative justice and public health informed measures to keep our communities safe.
By attending ANC and Civic Association meetings, engaging in advocacy and policy discussions, and organizing outreach events within the community, my team and I have met with thousands of Ward 2 residents to benefit from a diverse array of ideas, suggestions, and connections. Because of that engagement, we have made a great deal of progress in what seems like a short time. We look forward to continuing this work and meeting with many more of you in 2021.
In addition to all of the great work we have done, I take seriously the responsibility that you elected me as the first woman to represent Ward 2. Voices of women and young people are being prioritized in new ways and contributions from all demographics are valued and are critical to ensuring a more equitable future.
As we enter 2021, I will serve as part of a new female-majority on the Council. I am excited to get to work with my colleagues and bring results on your behalf. We have our work cut out for us, and Team Pinto is up for the challenge – and this is only the beginning! To see where we have been and where we are going, please review this year-end newsletter.
Again, I thank the Ward 2 community for placing their confidence in me and electing me to serve as your Councilmember. I look forward to ensuring your voices are elevated and that you continue to have a strong partner and representative on the Council.
Yours in Service,
Building a Better Ward 2 and Affecting the Broader Community
Making Community Outreach and Public Engagement Our Priority
Connecting with the residents of Ward 2, learning about their unique experiences, and gathering their insight is important to Councilmember Pinto and her team.
To stay connected, Team Pinto hosted a number of outreach events to hear directly from the Ward 2 community. These public events included:
Team Pinto will continue to host these types of events in the coming year and beyond. Let us know what types of community meetings interest you.
Education and Youth Advocacy
Councilmember Pinto is incredibly proud of the District of Columbia’s youth and also thanks students, families, and teachers for their drive and determination during what has been an unpredictable year. Realizing the challenges facing schools undertaking virtual instruction, Councilmember Pinto and her team met with Principals from across Ward 2 to help fill technological gaps and provide other necessary supports. Team Pinto also attended school readiness tours prior to school re-openings during Phase 2 and proactively engaged Parent Teacher Associations to identify additional opportunities to provide support.
Councilmember Pinto is also keen on engaging the District’s vibrant college and university student population and nonprofit organizations serving young District residents. This year, Councilmember Pinto met with local student groups, such as MIKVA Summer Youth Challenge, to help students better understand the local government process. Councilmember Pinto also met with the George Washington University UNICEF Club to discuss the importance of menstrual education and giving young women the confidence and tools to engage in these critical conversations. Councilmember Pinto also spoke to student news outlets, including the GW Hatchet and Georgetown’s The Hoya.
Regarding District youth being involved in government, Councilmember Pinto stated, “Our future leaders face unpredictability and uncertainty, but they have a voice. I look forward to helping empower each and every young person today so their helpful perspectives can be incorporated as we build a better tomorrow.”
Whether into the Office of the Vice President of the United States, down the halls of the United States Congress, or right here at the Council of the District of Columbia, women have been stepping into leadership roles where their voices have not been traditionally heard.
This year, Councilmember Pinto was proud to be elected as the first woman to represent Ward 2 on the Council, and she is eager to serve alongside the Council’s incoming female majority beginning in January 2021 – the first such majority since 1998. She joined the other women of the Council to speak about this recently on the Ask Rayceen Show. You can watch the recording here.
Through engagement with organizations such as the Metropolitan Women’s Democratic Club, the DC Democratic Women’s Club, and the new National Women’s History Museum, Councilmember Pinto has made a concerted effort to encourage women of all backgrounds to become civically and politically engaged. “We know that great things happen when women lead,” said Councilmember Pinto, “and having more diversity in thought helps lawmakers to do our jobs differently, more effectively, and with a more balanced approach.”
The Importance of Public Safety and Advancing Criminal Justice Reform
Public safety is among Councilmember Pinto’s top priorities at the Council. Whether attending public safety walks in Penn Quarter and Shaw alongside ANCs and MPD, holding a public safety meeting in Georgetown, or attending ride-a-longs in Logan Circle, Councilmember has worked collaboratively with various stakeholders to see that residents and visitors can feel safe.
On criminal justice reform, Councilmember Pinto’s commitment remains steadfast. Joining in this summer’s call for racial and social equality, Councilmember Pinto voted in favor of establishing the District’s Police Reform Commission, making body-worn-camera footage more accessible, and protecting first amendment protestors from chemical irritants.
“The summer of 2020 brought the Council of the District of Columbia, and many other governmental jurisdictions, another opportunity to grapple with the realities of racial injustice and social inequality plaguing our communities,” said Councilmember Pinto. “I am glad that we are taking action and that we did not let this opportunity pass us by. I look forward to continuing this work throughout my term.”
Continuing to act, Councilmember Pinto also supported criminal justice reform measures by voting to restore the right to vote to incarcerated residents with felony convictions and offer a “second look” to those who were jailed before the age of 25 and have also served at least 15 years of their sentence. Councilmember Pinto also voted in favor of legislation that would remove barriers to employment for returning citizens and identify and address the needs of District children with incarcerated parents.
Working for Small and Local Business and Supporting Workers
Small and local businesses are the driving forces of the District’s economy and ensuring that they have a healthy environment in which to compete is paramount. Given the challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, Councilmember Pinto advocated for a waiver of onerous insurance requirements allowing streateries to open and remain open through the end of 2021 so that individuals could return to work. Councilmember Pinto also fought for an increased supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep workers safe and voted in favor of offering relief to undocumented workers.
Understanding that the pandemic laid bare many pre-existing inequalities that faced women-and-minority-owned businesses, Councilmember Pinto joined her colleagues to push forth legislation that would make the District’s contract procurement process more equitable for women-and-minority-owned businesses. This legislation would prevent larger businesses and businesses from outside of the District of Columbia from receiving benefits intended to help small and local businesses find success.
Celebrating Milestones and Standing in Solidarity
Councilmember Pinto joined Ward 2 residents, the small and local businesses community, visitors, and a host of others in commemorating the following moments at both cultural and art institutions:
Councilmember Pinto also joined Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 36 and Local 3721 to commemorate the 19th anniversary of September 11 and present the "September 11 Emergency and First Responders Remembrance and Recognition Resolution of 2020” at Fire Station Engine 16. This tradition was started by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh ten years ago to honor the brave men and women who responded to the call of duty on that day.
Councilmember Pinto also memorialized the passing of Civil Rights Icon John Lewis. This year, she introduced the “John Lewis Way Designation Act of 2020” to rename the portion of H Street NW adjacent to the White House and Lafayette Square in honor of the late Congressman and civil rights icon. Thank you to ANC 2B, which unanimously passed a resolution in support of this legislation.
Keeping You Informed
Councilmember Pinto believes that government works best when residents are informed and involved, and she believes that the media’s role in protecting and strengthening our democracy is unparalleled. This year, Councilmember Pinto had an opportunity to sit with various outlets about her policy positions and help the general public understand what motivates her to contribute to Ward 2 and make the District of Columbia a better place to live, work, and visit.
In case you missed Pinto in the news, here are a few articles that will help you recap our first six months in office.
A Look Ahead
As we enter the new year and the coming Council Period, Councilmember Pinto will legislate and continue to engage residents through the Ward 2 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, Civic Associations, social media, and constituent services. Team Pinto will also continue holding outreach events to help connect residents with essential government resources and provide them with critical information.
Among the Councilmember’s priorities for the new year are improving public safety and further advancing criminal justice reform, increasing equity and fairness for small and minority and women-owned businesses, increasing access to affordable housing, and continuing to provide strong COVID relief efforts.
To keep apprised of our efforts, visit our brand-new website, www.BrookePintoDC.com. There, you will see all of our latest updates and have the option to subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also follow Councilmember Pinto onFacebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Please stay engaged, and let’s all remain committed to strengthening our communities.