It would be challenging to name a more divisive figure in DC politics than Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry. Recently, Barry has said he deserves another term because he’s “wiser and more caring.” On April 3rd, Ward 8 voters can show Barry they are, in fact, wiser and more caring about their future by voting for Jacque Patterson as their next councilmember.

Patterson’s record is impressive. He emphasizes public safety, and he can speak personally: he served as an MPD reserve officer and is the only candidate with experience patrolling the ward. The violence and crime that have long defined the ward have fallen, but this gives little comfort for residents who still fear dangerous streets. To improve relationships between police and citizens, Patterson says he will work to “increase the effectiveness of community policing.”

That’s just one of the issues pertinent to all Ward 8 residents that his campaign emphasizes, such as education reform, enhanced economic development through the growth of local businesses, and improved public transportation.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Patterson is raising a young family in Ward 8, and his eldest daughter is a graduate of Thurgood Marshall Academy. Education hits home for Patterson.  He told us that he will “pay particular attention to middle school-aged children, to ensure that they are well prepared for high school and beyond,” adding, “This age group, often deemed the crossroad in development, is faced with the decision of whether it will continue or end its educational pursuits, and where grades begin to suffer greatly.”

Another focus is jobs, particularly developing the ward’s major business corridors of South Capitol Street, Good Hope Road, Alabama Avenue, and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Patterson plans to bring together ANCs, the Ward 8 Business Council, and various community development corporations to create a comprehensive plan for developing the ward and enhancing its employment options.

With particular focus on development, Patterson said, “One of the biggest issues facing the next councilmember of Ward 8 will be the design and development of Poplar Point. How do we bring it together in ways that incorporates green spaces, affordable housing, recreation, retail/entertainment venues and commercial development?”

Patterson is also focused on improving public transit for the ward. Residents continue to face the challenge of both traveling within Ward 8 and connecting to crosstown neighborhoods on the bus. In response to Metro’s proposed reduction of existing routes, Patterson pledges to advocate “for more frequent bus routes and more funding for the mass transit system, [as these are] vital to the growth and stability of the ward.”

"I support the trolley coming east of the river and think it will not only help the transportation situation of a transportation dependent ward, but enliven and serve as a catalyst to revitalize downtown Anacostia,” Patterson said in an email interview.

Patterson, the immediate past president of the Ward 8 Democrats, arrived in Washington in the mid-1990s while stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. Soon thereafter, his Shipley Terrace neighbors elected him Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, and he served 4 terms.

Positions in the U.S. military and Mayor Williams’ administration, as well as with Federal City Council and the DC Housing Finance Agency, have both informed Patterson’s policy stances and prepared him for the challenges of political leadership.

The Washington Post, Washington Examiner, and Washington City Paper have endorsed Patterson. This stands in stark contrast to Barry, who walked away from the Ward 8 Democrats endorsement forum without enough votes for an endorsement

In his 8 years on the council, Barry has done far more to take personal political advantage of the poverty and other serious issues in Ward 8 than to actually try to solve them. The City Paper’s Alan Suderman even reported today that Barry was trying to stoke racial divisions in the Council during the committee reshuffle that punished Council­member Tommy Wells (Ward 6).

While Barry plays defender of the downtrodden, residents of the ward can do far more to improve their neighborhoods and economic opportunities by taking a fresh turn and choosing Jacque Patterson. We urge Ward 8 voters to choose Jacque Patterson in early voting or on April 3.

This is the official endorsement of Greater Greater Washington, written by one or more contributors. Active contributors and editors voted on endorsements, and any endorsement reflects a strong majority or greater in favor of endorsing the candidate.