Even though Jacque Patterson has served as a Ward 8 advisory neighborhood commissioner and been president of the Ward 8 Democrats, he wants to represent all District residents as an at-large member of the D.C. Board of Education.
“I could have run for the Ward 8 Board position but I think neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River need three representatives on the D.C. State Board of Education,” Patterson said. “Forty percent of all District students come from east of the river and yet most of the board members who set educational policy come from west of the river. That being said, if elected at-large I will represent all District residents.”
Patterson’s candidacy this year will be his second time seeking the at-large board post. In 2016, he ran for the position but didn’t make the ballot because the D.C. Board of Elections determined that some of his petition signatures lacked validity.
Patterson said he knows the matter of those invalid signatures will come up during this campaign, but plans to tell residents his version of the story.
“I was short of getting on the ballot 100 signatures,” he said. “Many of those so-called invalid signatures were from residents east of the river. It has been my observation that residents east of the river move more than others in the city and in many cases the addresses on the voter rolls didn’t match the resident’s new address. It appeared to be enough of those to keep me off the ballot.”
Patterson said he has learned from the mistakes of 2016 and will run a better operation to be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
On the board, Patterson said while he will be attentive to the needs of schools throughout the city, he won’t hesitate to advocate for more resources for schools east of the river.
“Money for D.C. schools tends to be tied to enrollment but I want to see more funds go to schools that have children that are considered at-risk and subject to trauma,” Patterson said. “Many of these schools are located east of the river and they deserve not equal funding but equitable funding. That means they should get the money they deserve in order to educate under-served students.”
George Stands with Union
Janeese Lewis George, a candidate for the Ward 4 D.C. Council seat in the June 2 Democratic primary, has come out in favor of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) possibly striking at the Ward 4 Safeway locations.
“Ward 4 is home to two Safeway stores, on Piney Branch Road and on Georgia Avenue,” George said. “These stores are an integral part of our neighborhoods both for the food they provide as well the jobs they support. The staff at these stores are part of our community and they deserve fair pay, fair benefits and the pensions that management has promised to them.”
George said her mother’s membership in the American Postal Workers Union for 34 years has sensitized her about the concerns of union workers.
“In 1970, postal workers went on strike and people in many unions, of all races and around the country stood shoulder to shoulder, missing wages, but staying unified,” she said. “Those brave workers’ fight meant years later, my siblings and I had not only a roof over our heads but also food on our table, clothes on our back and health care coverage. And postal workers today benefit from that fight over 40 years ago.”
George said the postal workers and UFCW struggles are similar and thereby “will proudly join the picket line along with my campaign supporters.”
“I call on all Ward 4 leaders, workers and people who believe employers should honor their commitments to join me in supporting UFCW members as they stand up for good jobs at Safeway,” she said.
Election Board to Hold Open House
The District of Columbia Board of Elections will host an open house for prospective election workers on March 7.
The event will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the board’s offices at 1015 Half Street SE, Suite 750.
All attendees will learn about various election worker positions and responsibilities. In addition, they will receive a hands-on demonstration on the voting equipment.
Board officials say they need 3,500 election workers for the June 2 primary election. To register, go to VolunteerMatch.org and enter the keyword “DCBOE” in the search box.