Christina Henderson, who has worked for D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) as a committee director, deputy chief of staff and legislative director, wants to take her former boss’s seat in next year’s election cycle and has his strong support.
“Christina has the most tenacity to get this job done,” Grosso said at Henderson’s formal campaign kickoff on Dec. 4 at the Busboys and Poets restaurant in downtown Washington. “When it came to issues, she did the research and as a result, we won the fights that we waged on behalf of the people of the District. On the council, Christina will fight for human rights and fight for racial justice.”
Henderson holds a bachelor’s degree from Furman University in political science, gender and women’s studies and a master’s degree from Princeton University in the field of public policy. Her Capitol Hill experience consists of working for Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the party leader of his chamber.
Henderson has also worked as a coordinator for special projects for the District public schools and for the New York City Department of Education as a Pioneers Fellow in the Charter Schools Office. Her working experience in the District and New York in education along with her tenure managing the Committee on Education that Grosso chairs, led the council member to say she would be the best person to succeed him because “education continues to be the main issue in the city” and “on the council, Christina will continue to improve D.C.’s educational system.”
In her speech, Henderson said improving access and the quality of the District’s early learning system will be a priority as well as working for more affordable housing units and improving public safety throughout the city.
Henderson, who will not be on the ballot until the Nov. 3, 2020, general election because of her run as an independent, said the District “is a great city but could do better.”
She said a resident’s zip code shouldn’t determine easy access to a hospital or a good school.
“But right now it does and that is unacceptable,” Henderson said. “I want D.C. to be for everyone.”
Renee Bowser Makes Another Bid for Ward 4 Seat
Renee Bowser ran for the Ward 4 council seat in 2007, 2012 and 2015 and will challenge Council member Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4) for the Democratic nomination in the June 2, 2020, primary.
“As a seven-term advisory neighborhood commissioner representing single-member district 4D02 in Petworth and a career labor lawyer, I have spent my life advocating for the community,” said Bowser, who is no relation to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Despite the prosperity, our city is experiencing, we are leaving generations of Washingtonians behind. Our city is not working for everyone.
“Many of you have voted for me in the past and I call on you, and others, to support my campaign to create affordable housing, prioritize the safety of the public and increase education options for all D.C. residents,” she said.
In 2007, Bowser received more than four percent of the vote in the May 7 special election to replace Adrian Fenty, who vacated his council seat to run successfully for mayor in 2006. Bowser competed with 18 other candidates and lost to Muriel Bowser.
In 2012, she challenged Muriel Bowser for the seat in the April 3 Democratic primary, getting 13.36 percent of the vote but losing again. In 2015, Bowser ran in the April 28 special election to replace Muriel Bowser, the winner of the 2014 mayoral contest, and received 21.59 percent of the vote but lost to Brandon Todd, an ally of the mayor.
Bowser said her 2020 campaign will be different from her past ones.
“I am planning on using public financing this time and will use that to reach many more Ward 4 voters,” she said. “I am also retired from working as a labor lawyer and can devote full-time to the campaign and getting to know more Ward 4 residents. I also have an experienced campaign team that worked with the Leon T. Andrews effort to defeat Brandon in 2016.”
In 2016, Andrews got 42.04 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary while Todd had 50.81 percent.
Bowser said working with former members of the Andrews team, as well as what she senses as a growing desire for change in the ward, could tip the scales in her favor next year.
“My new team will help me excite voters and lead us to success,” she said.