The primary election for the District of Columbia will be held on Tuesday, June 2, less than six weeks from now. One of the most contested races with on the D.C. ballot is for Ward 2 representative on the District Council, for a four-year term. There are nine candidates — eight Democrats and one Republican. Comprising a range of backgrounds and experience, all have been community activists in one way or another. The candidates are (in alphabetical order):
• Jack Evans, former Ward 2 Council member
• John Fanning, Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner
• Jordan Grossman, Medicaid, housing and homeless services coordinator
• Daniel Hernandez, former Marine employed by Microsoft
• Patrick Kennedy, Foggy Bottom Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner
• Brooke Pinto, former D.C. Assistant Attorney General
• Kishan Putta, Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner
• Katherine Venice (Republican), reformer of capitalism
• Yilin Zhang, health business executive
In this Part 2 of our Q&A, The Georgetowner asked: What measures are most important before reopening D.C.? (Answers have been edited for brevity.)
In the May 20 issue, The Georgetowner will run Part 3 of our Q&A — as well as a selection of specific answers by the candidates. Visit georgetowner.com for expanded questions and answers, leading up to election day.
WHAT MEASURES ARE MOST IMPORTANT BEFORE REOPENING D.C.?
Evans: We should utilize technology and moderate social distancing until a vaccine is produced.
Grossman: We need further action to support restaurant, retail and other workers who have lost their jobs, educators and parents and families and businesses struggling with rent and mortgage payments.
Hernandez: Once community spread is under control, to prevent another peak from overwhelming our health care system, we have to be able to detect and trace future cases.
Kennedy: We must base our decision on the best public health information to ensure the safety of our teachers, employers and workers. We have to dramatically scale up testing to get this crisis under control as fast as possible to reopen Georgetown and D.C.
Pinto: COVID-19 testing must be widely available so that we have the data we need. New health regulations are also needed, such as permitting businesses to refuse service to customers not wearing masks and temperature checks and crowd/density control.
Putta: I have over 15 years of health care experience in D.C., six years helping D.C. small businesses, and understand their concerns. Widespread testing and PPE availability are needed.
Venice: Testing is deeply deficient at this stage. Plan B means how else restaurants and small shops can open safely — using distancing, restricting numbers of customers, plexiglass, masks, gloves, etc. Only if scientists drive the resumption of activity will parents and customers feel confident enough to return.
Zhang: Reopening needs to be phased. We need to continue to expand access to testing and resources to check in with residents. Especially for residents living alone, physical distancing can feel socially isolating. Economically, D.C. could have extended property and Q1 estimated tax deadlines, and unemployment benefits need to be distributed in a timely way.