From left: Ward 2 Council hopefuls John Fanning (standing), Jordan Grossman, Daniel Hernandez, Patrick Kennedy, Kishan Putta and Yilin Zhang participate in a candidate's forum at the Women's National Democratic Club in northwest D.C. on Sept. 25. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
From left: Ward 2 Council hopefuls John Fanning (standing), Jordan Grossman, Daniel Hernandez, Patrick Kennedy, Kishan Putta and Yilin Zhang participate in a candidate's forum at the Women's National Democratic Club in northwest D.C. on Sept. 25. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

There are six candidates vying for the 2020 Ward 2 D.C. Council Democratic nomination and while they consist of different races, ethnicities and economic backgrounds, they all have a common goal: to replace veteran Council member Jack Evans.

“I want to give Ward 2 residents the kind of Council leadership they deserve,” said John Fanning, who serves as the chair of the advisory neighborhood commission 2F. “The people will be my priority.”

One of Fanning’s opponents, Jordan Grossman, states his intentions bluntly.

“Serving in government is a privilege, not a business opportunity,” said Grossman, who worked for the Obama administration. “We have had three decades of Jack Evans. It’s time for change. We want a council member truly for you, not for sale.”

There have only been two legislators representing Ward 2 since the D.C. Council began operating in 1975. John A. Wilson represented the ward from 1975-1991 and Evans succeeded him in a special election after Wilson was elected council chair.

Evans has easily won reelection since 1992 but lately has been embroiled in scandals culminating in FBI raids of his home regarding his possible criminal activities with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board and on the council.

Evans hasn’t publicly stated whether he will run for reelection.

The Democratic primary will take place on June 2 with the general election on Nov. 3. Petitions for the primary will be available from the D.C. Board of Elections starting Jan. 10, 2020, and are due on March 4.

The candidates seek to represent neighborhoods that consists of downtown Washington, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Southwest Federal Center and Georgetown. Whites make up 66 percent of its population while Asians are 10 percent and Blacks nine.

The council member received an invitation to participate in a candidate’s forum on Sept. 25 at the Woman’s National Democratic Club in Northwest but didn’t show up. The candidates did and articulated why they want to take Evans’s place.

Patrick Kennedy represents 2A01 as a commissioner and if elected to the council, wants to “bring people together and work on the tough issues.”

“I worked hard to help save and turn around the School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens,” he said. “Transportation is a passion of mine and I would like to see that improved in the ward and we have had some good people in Ward 2 who cannot stay because the cost of living is too high. We need more affordable housing.”

Putta, a South Asian, said he would like to see criminal justice reform taking place in the city.

“We have disparities where a Black man dies 15 years earlier than a white man and a Black woman dies nine years earlier than a white man,” said Putta, who represents 2E01 as a commissioner. “We have an infant mortality rate where a Black child is nine times more likely to die than a white child in the city and we have to do something about this.”

Daniel Hernandez and Yilin Zhang are running for public office for the first time. Hernandez, a Mexican-American Marine Corps veteran, said affordable housing has become a key issue in his campaign.

“We don’t want to become a city of the super wealthy and public housing residents,” he said. “I have struggled and I have done well in this city. I am running because I have answered the call to service in the Marines and doing so now as a candidate for the council.”

Zhang said as council member, she will work to bring people together.

“I am connector,” said Zhang, a Chinese American and the only woman in the race. “This is a ward of many different cultures and communities. I will work to help those who work for the minimum wage because they can’t afford to live in the city and help the homeless in the ward. Many of the homeless have drug or mental health issues and the government should help them.”

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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