Sign up to stay connected
Get the top stories of the day around the DMV.
D.C. Council member Anita Bonds wants to serve four more years representing District residents on a citywide basis because she sees a lot of changes taking place and wants to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance.
“I want to continue to keep our city moving forward,” Bonds said. “We need to keep people living in our city. A lot of people feel they are being pushed out due to gentrification. And the [coronavirus] pandemic has genuinely affected our city’s future.”
Bonds will represent the Democratic Party in the November 8 general election as its at-large candidate after winning the nomination on June 21 in the District’s primary. She will compete against Republican, Libertarian and D.C. Statehood Green party candidates as well as independents including council colleagues Elissa Silverman and Kenyan McDuffie for one of the two seats up for grabs. Bonds has served on the council as an at-large legislator since December 2012 when she replaced Phil Mendelson by vote of the D.C. Democratic State Committee.
She said while the city progresses economically despite the pandemic, several issues remain which require the attention of government officials.
“We have areas that need stark improvement such as schools, for I fear we are losing a great generation of residents and leaders,” Bonds said. “Senior citizens deserve to be a part of our great city also, many of whom feel isolated. They are out of the daily rhythm of life and there is a high rate of poverty among people who are over the age of 65.”
Bonds, who chairs the Committee on Housing and Executive Administration, said District leaders should look at creative models when it comes to housing its seniors. She suggested a dormitory-style facility that includes a common area where people can congregate as well as a kitchen and a courtyard as an example of a senior housing model.
The council member also said land located at The Parks at Walter Reed in Northwest and Reservation 13 in the Southeast quadrant could be utilized for senior housing. Those two plots of land, Bonds said, could be used as village-like settings for seniors – a concept that has been successful in other cities.
“We should build as much community as we can,” she said adding that in terms of housing costs overall, “the rent is too damn high.”
“People are having a difficult time making ends meet,” she said. “Young families should be able to live in the city, if the parents work here. People making from $50,000 a year to $100,000 a year are having a tough time here.”
A few weeks ago, Bonds publicly pledged to hold a hearing on social housing suggesting that the government or nonprofits should support housing specifically for workers at an affordable rate here in the District.
Bonds also said the economic development of neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River should be a priority.
“There is no reason that Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. cannot be similar to 14th & U Street,” she said. “I think residents in communities east of the river should be able to determine what goes in their neighborhoods. People want a say in neighborhood development. They just don’t want something plopped in their neighborhood and explained later.”
Since the advent of Home Rule in 1974, no Democratic at-large council candidate has lost a general election. And while Bonds knows the odds remains strongly in her favor due to the Democrats 10-to-1 voter registration advantage over the Republicans, she plans to run like an underdog.
“It would be an insult to the voters if I didn’t campaign hard,” Bonds said. “People are into ‘what have you done for me lately’ and generally have short memories. However, this election is different because there are three sitting council members running for two spots.”
Jacque Patterson, who serves as an at-large member of the D.C. State Board of Education, said Bonds has his support.
“Anita has consistently supported policies balancing the needs of public and charter school and has been good on such issues as affordable housing,” he said. “She has earned another term in my opinion.”