Jack Evans Report: Year-end Assessment
By December 21, 2015 0 988•
December is always a great time to look back on the year and assess what went well and where can we redouble our efforts in the coming year. This December is particularly good for this type of reflection as it is not yet the end of a Council period, so legislation that I’ve introduced is still under Council review.
The biggest issue we faced in the District this year was the alarming increase in the number of murders. While this was part of a national trend, we have to continue to focus on public safety in 2016. I introduced a bill to require enough resources to keep 4,000 police officers on the force in the face of a coming retirement bubble. We have been successful in expanding patrols with our current force, increase rewards for notifications of illegal guns, targeting synthetic drug operations and authorizing the purchase of body-worn cameras for police officers.
While more police officers and aggressively tackling illegal drugs and guns on the street will help address crime, there are larger societal issues that I’m proud to have worked on this year.
On the jobs front, we agreed to an economic development plan with the Advisory Board Company to remain in the District and create 1,000 new well-paying jobs for D.C. residents. Additionally, the city will work with the Wizards to build a sports and entertainment complex in Southeast Washington that will create hundreds of jobs and bring vitality to residents and a part of the city that have not enjoyed all of the recent success we’ve seen in D.C.
I was also able to fight to maintain the second round of tax breaks that the council agreed to in 2014. On both the personal and business tax side, I’m proud to say I was successful in pushing the District to be a more affordable place to live and start a business.
I’m proud of bills that I introduced this year that have passed the council, including to help expand N Street Village, an organization that provides safe housing for vulnerable or at-risk women; to end the practice of suspending or expelling pre-K students; to provide for the testing of newborns for congenital heart defects; and to allow for the filling of 12 months of contraceptive medication at once.
There are several bills and issues that are high priorities for me as the calendar turns to 2016. We received funding for modernization of schools in Ward 2, but a couple are still short of their total expected funding levels. I introduced legislation to expand the homestead deduction, incentivize more wheelchair-accessible taxis, increase the number of police, fire and school employees who live in the city, among others that I will keep pushing to achieve. On the WMATA front, it seems like we will pass a budget without a fare increase, a critical action as we work to restore confidence in the system.
In closing, my family and I, as well as my staff, would like to wish you and yours a happy holiday season. This is always a wonderful time to spend with friends and family and to be thankful for all the blessings we enjoy. This is the last Georgetowner for the year. Happy New Year, and we will see you again in January.
Jack Evans is the District Council member for Ward 2, representing Georgetown and other neighborhoods since 1991.