Flag of the District of Columbia (Courtesy of dpw.dc.gov)
Flag of the District of Columbia (Courtesy of dpw.dc.gov)

BRIAN SCHWALB

Ward 3 • Democrat • Age: 54

Attorney

www.brianfordc.com

How will you balance your obligation to the D.C. government and District residents in times when their interests are not aligned?

I will exercise the judgment and discretion developed over nearly 30 years of my diverse and active law practice to advise and defend the city while executing my commitment to protecting the public interest. By providing sound, constructive, practical legal advice to the executive branch, and by being an independent AG that simultaneously holds the executive branch accountable, I will lead OAG to maximize the effectiveness of the District’s agencies in serving the needs of Washingtonians.

As attorney general, what priority will you give consumer rights protections?

I will aggressively enforce our consumer protection, false claims and anti-discrimination laws. In addition to collaborating with other state AGs to address nationwide unfair and deceptive practices that harm D.C. residents, OAG will prioritize enforcement against actors that: (i) mislead homeowners (often seniors) into selling their homes below fair market value (ii) engage in predatory/discriminatory lending and price gouging & (iii) induce residents desperate to own a home into buying “lemons.”

What changes will you seek in the realm of tenants’ rights and how will you tackle that issue?

I will ensure that OAG (i) holds accountable slumlords who engage in illegal constructive eviction (ii) enforces laws that require landlords to provide safe, habitable housing & (iii) pursues landlords/property managers who discriminate against tenants/potential tenants, including those who receive vouchers or other assistance. I will also ensure that (i) developers comply with contractual commitments to provide affordable housing & (ii) avoid displacement of existing tenants.

What’s your position on a woman’s right to choose?

I will use every statutory, constitutional, regulatory, common law and political argument available to ensure that a woman’s right to choose remains legal, safe and accessible in our city. Abortion care is a critical part of reproductive health care, and attacks on a woman’s bodily autonomy signal a dangerous erosion of other privacy rights. I will fight to ensure that D.C. remains a place that cares for patients who reside here and travel here in search of safe reproductive healthcare.

What’s your assessment of the penalties given to violent offenders?

The D.C. OAG prosecutes only crimes committed by youth. I believe that (i) rehabilitation of youth makes our city safer because it reduces recidivism and (ii) repeat violent offenders must be held accountable. My OAG will evaluate relevant facts, examine applicable recidivism rates, and if commitment is appropriate, ensure that the DYRS meets each child’s needs. I will direct resources to address root causes/interrupt cycles of violence and deploy appropriate diversion/restorative justice programs.

What do you hope to accomplish in your first 100 days and how will you do so?

My first priorities will be to: (i) retain/recruit the expert team of lawyers and legal professionals who carry out the vital work of the OAG, & (ii) establish a constructive working relationship with the Mayor/District agencies. Other priorities include protecting workers from wage theft, residents from slumlords, seniors from financial exploitation, the environment from pollution, borrowers from predatory lenders, and consumers from scammers.

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BRUCE SPIVA

Ward 4 • Democrat • Age: 56

Attorney

www.spivafordcag.com

How will you balance your obligation to the D.C. government and District residents in times when their interests are not aligned?

The AG is the lawyer for the D.C. government and the people of D.C. By creating an independent elected AG position, the Council and District voters ensured that OAG can protect the public interest first and foremost, even when carrying out its statutory duty to defend District agencies and officials. In those instances when the Administration is failing to comply with the law, the AG must do everything in his power to ensure that the Administration is acting lawfully and in the public interest.

As attorney general, what priority will you give consumer rights protections?

Consumer rights protections will be one of my top priorities. I founded and managed my own law firm where I represented consumers harmed by unfair, fraudulent, or anti-competitive practices. Being a plaintiffs’ consumer lawyer is part of my DNA. As AG, I will vigorously pursue companies that harm District residents and will go after abusive debt collectors, protect residents from unscrupulous businesses, crack down on elder financial abuse, and enforce our antitrust laws.

What changes will you seek in the realm of tenants’ rights and how will you tackle that issue?

As attorney general, I will be a champion for tenants’ rights. I will go after slumlords who force tenants to live in unsafe, unhealthy conditions and bad actors who cheat tenants out of their rights under D.C. law. I will enforce developers’ promises to build affordable housing units and newly-enacted rights for tenants in the eviction and application process. Finally, I will partner with tenants and community-based organizations to find and pursue remedies against bad actors.

What’s your position on a woman’s right to choose?

I strongly support a woman’s constitutional right to choose. If the leaked decision becomes finalized, the D.C. attorney general may well have a leadership role in protecting the reproductive rights of D.C. residents. I will not hesitate to use all the powers of my office, as well as the nationwide bully pulpit the office affords, both to protect the rights of D.C. residents, as well as those who come here to obtain a safe, legal abortion.

What’s your assessment of the penalties given to violent offenders?

I believe that violent offenders should be held accountable, that violent offenders should be off the streets. I also believe we need to go after ghost guns and gun manufacturers to the fullest extent allowed by law. That said, with respect to juvenile justice, we must never forget that these are our children. In discussions of crime, commentators too often suggest a choice between reforming the system and public safety. It’s simply not true. Reforming the system will increase public safety.

What do you hope to accomplish in your first 100 days and how will you do so?

I will focus on listening to, supporting and recruiting the professionals who staff the OAG. My experience over three decades is that you are only as good as your team. In order to accomplish my policy priorities, we must recruit and retain as many qualified, diverse, and motivated public interest professionals as possible. My biggest substantive priorities are housing justice, public safety and criminal justice reform, workers’ rights and consumer protection, and child support.

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RYAN JONES

Ward 5 • Democrat • Age: 37

Attorney

www.ryanjonesforag.com

How will you balance your obligation to the D.C. government and District residents in times when their interests are not aligned?

If we must advise (and even find funding for) residents to obtain outside counsel during preliminary disputes or the District government based on considerations of conflicts of interest and cost-benefit analysis, then the parties can enter into negotiations or other conflict resolutions.

As attorney general, what priority will you give consumer rights protections?

I believe consumer rights is an essential part of the job and office, and I will continue to prioritize it, along with the agenda items I have identified.

What changes will you seek in the realm of tenants’ rights and how will you tackle that issue?

This is an access to justice issue. Tenants need lawyers. We must fund resources for Tenants to have access to counsel when their rights are on the line. Moreover, we must pass legislation that meets the needs of many D.C. tenants.

What’s your position on a woman’s right to choose?

It must be a woman’s right to choose. And attorneys general and legislators must use the courts and legislative bodies to reach that end.

What’s your assessment of the penalties given to violent offenders?

I believe punishment must be commensurate with the crime and harm done. We must specifically deter and generally deter residents from engaging in such conduct in the future by being exacting and appropriate with the punishment to balance relief for the offender and the harm caused to the victim.

What do you hope to accomplish in your first 100 days and how will you do so?

I would like to establish: 1) A task force to revise the D.C. Code 2) An Expungement Clinic 3) An Estate Planning Clinic 4) Have a Cybersecurity Department 5) Build out a team with a vision to execute the goals of government and public advocacy to have the District become the blueprint for using the law to keep residents safe and empowered.

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