Robert White is the change DC needs

Ollie Braden, Director of Visuals

The US political system disenfranchises the District of Columbia to a remarkable extent. We don’t have senators or statehood. But what we do have is the ability to participate in local elections to work towards making real change in this city. This is vastly more important than most of us would think, particularly when it comes to the upcoming mayoral election.

The most promising candidate for that change is Robert White, as his stances on education, housing, and public safety all point to tangible reform. 

In his time on the city council, White has already done significant work on education, from co-authoring proposals for the childcare policy “Birth-To-Three for All DC” to enacting legislation focused on increasing the transparency and independence of our public school system. As mayor, he plans to conduct a top-down review of DCPS, address the root causes of low teacher retention rates, and focus on equitable, trauma-informed teaching practices for underserved students. 

Robert White also aims to ameliorate the housing crisis. Gentrification in DC is rising steadily, with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition finding in 2019 that the District has the highest gentrification “intensity” of any city in the United States. White, whose extended family was largely priced out of DC, wants to solve this crisis at its root by challenging how our city develops its public land. In office, he will explore areas that could accommodate increased density and turn vacant downtown office buildings into affordable housing units. He’ll create support systems for small landlords while still ensuring that the rights of tenants are protected.

But it’s White’s stance on public safety, in particular, that stands out to me. He plans to push back hard against increasing homicide and violence while still fighting to decrease the power and presence of the police. The incumbent mayor’s programs have never truly taken off, and she falls back on approaches that have failed DC for decades. By contrast, White’s campaign focuses on a seven-point plan to prevent violence that would target illegal gun traffickers in Maryland and Virginia and treat drug addiction as an illness that merits care, not incarceration. He wants less police involvement in things like behavioral crises and traffic stops, and pushes for more oversight, more community collaboration, and more consequences for police forces.

Regardless of who you plan to vote for, civic engagement is one of the most important things that you can do for your community. The mayoral election will be November 8th, and perhaps more crucially, the primary election will be June 21st. To the Jackson-Reed students and staff who are able, get out there and vote! •