Mike Austin

Mike Austin, chairman of the 8C advisory neighborhood commission in Ward 8, has decided to challenge D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) in the June 2 Democratic primary.

Austin said if he wins the primary and the Nov. 3 general election, he will be “a champion for all Ward 8 residents and their families.”

“Our people are suffering under this current leadership,” he said. “Our community problems have gone on long enough. I’m tired of broken promises, it’s time for progress.

“If we don’t solve these challenges now, then we may never figure them out,” Austin said. “It’s time for better — it’s now or never.”

Austin has been employed as vice president of public relations and corporate secretary for the United Medical Center and has worked as legislative director for both the Office of Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity and for LaRuby May, a Democrat who represented Ward 8 on the Council from May 14, 2015, to Jan. 2, 2017.

In addition, Austin has served as a legislative fellow with the Executive Office of the Mayor, Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs.

Austin holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans and a juris doctorate from the former Charlotte School of Law that operated in Charlotte, N.C.

Community activist Stuart Anderson and former union leader Richard Campbell are among the candidates joining Austin to challenge White in the Democratic primary. The winner of the Democratic primary could face independent Christopher Cole in the general election.

White hasn’t officially declared for reelection, though political observers expect him to do so.

Austin said he plans on using his experience in the District government to serve the residents of the ward.

“I plan to bring a creative, balanced and responsible leadership style that listens to the community,” he said. “My experience in workforce, small business and health care gives me a unique background for the council. I will use that perspective while working closely with community leaders and partners in Ward 8 to create a plan within my first three months in office. That’s the urgency that we need on the council.”

Election Season Officially Underway

The election season for the 2020 cycle officially started on Jan. 10 when petitions became available for candidates who want to run in the June 2 primaries. The Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties will hold their primaries on June 2.

Petitions for the nominees for president of the United States, delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, at-large members of the D.C. Council, council members of Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8, shadow U.S. senator and U.S. representative and national and local party committee members for the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties are available to be picked up at the D.C. Board of Elections office located at 1015 Half Street SE, Suite 750.

Petitions are due on March 4 at 5 p.m.

On other matters, the resignation of Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans on Jan. 7 created a vacancy for the seat. On its website, the D.C. Board of Elections indicated that a special election will be held June 16 to fill the remainder of Evans’ term, which ends Dec. 31.

James Wright photo

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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