At-large Council Member Vincent Orange — who lost the Democratic Primary June 14 —has been chosen by the D.C. Chamber of Commerce to become its new president and CEO Aug. 15. The 59-year-old Orange plans to resign his District Council on the same day. He was the chairman of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The members of his staff will become part of Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s office.
The D.C. Chamber of Commerce was in need of new leadership, Orange told the Washington Business Journal, which first reported the story, saying it had challenges with falling revenue and member retention. According to the story, Orange wants to increase membership to 2,000 from the 1,400 as of 2015.
Several Council members, news outlets and other influencers said that Orange’s remaining on the Council, while taking the helm of the D.C. Chamber, presented a conflict of interest. D.C. law allows those on the Council to have second jobs.
“I believe that as long as we dot the I’s and cross the T’s I don’t really see a real conflict,” Orange told the Journal. “My positions are well settled on the major issues.”
Orange reconsidered his opinion and announced Aug. 5 that he would resign Aug. 15.
Orange served as Ward 5 Council member from 1999 to 2007. He began his service as an at-large Council member — after a special election — on May 10, 2011. (Robert White won the D.C. primary this year and will go on to take the at-large seat.)
Born in Oakland, California, Orange holds a law degree from Howard University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University. He has worked for Pepco, Arthur Andersen, the District government and the Washington Post.
Orange will succeed interim D.C. Chamber CEO Margaret Singleton, who took over after Harry Wingo resigned last year.
In campaign literature for his election eight years ago, Orange, a lawyer and and certified public accountant, proclaimed that he “has the skill set D.C. needs to make the city great again.” Apparently, the D.C. Chamber of Corce agrees with that.