On Tuesday evening, the D.C. Bar presented me with the William J. Brennan Jr. Award for service in the public interest. The award is a testament to the partnership among DC Appleseed, our pro bono partners, and our supporters. This partnership has addressed and made real progress on some of the biggest problems facing the District and the region.
In fact, just this month, we’ve seen two reminders of how DC Appleseed continues to make a difference on important issues facing the residents of the National Capital area.
As those who attended our June 13 awards reception recall, Congressman José Serrano (D-NY) said during the panel discussion that the recent passage of the budget autonomy referendum signaled a new era in the fight for D.C. democracy. Former Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) and former Mayor Anthony Williams agreed that Congress has little interest in undermining such a local initiative. This confirms what we’ve said for some time: a two-track strategy is the best way for D.C. residents to gain greater self-government. Track one should continue the work with Congress to advance affirmative legislation for the District on the Hill. But a new track two should look for ways for our elected representatives and the people of the District to advance democracy locally.
We’re also continuing our efforts to ensure the election of a strong, independent D.C. Attorney General. On June 25 at 6 p.m., we’re co-sponsoring “So You Want to Be D.C.’s Attorney General?” at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. This forum on the role of the Attorney General will educate voters before they elect the city’s chief legal officer for the first time next year. We also hope it will spark interest among the most able candidates to run for the job. The panel will feature Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Attorney General Irv Nathan, as well as former Attorneys General Peter Nickles and Robert Spagnoletti, and former Councilmember Kathy Patterson. Dean Shelley Broderick will be the moderator. I hope you’ll R.S.V.P., and I look forward to seeing you there.