Some District voters are describing Tuesday’s resignation by longtime D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) as “sad” while others are satisfied with his decision, describing it as “long overdue.”
The fact is that Evans, who was elected to the Council in 1991, did great things on behalf of District residents and his record clearly demonstrates it. His focus on business and economic development helped to bring downtown D.C. back to life while creating thousands of jobs and business opportunities for District residents.
As a matter of fact, it was Evans who said during the last D.C. Council inauguration ceremony that the District has enough money to provide housing for every District resident, a comment that may be fueling Mayor Muriel Bowser’s efforts to build more affordable housing in all of the District’s eight wards, despite “NIMBY” attitudes by some residents.
Still, Evans had his flaws, demonstrated by a lack of good judgment, carelessness in his relations with his clients and ethical lapses related to his council position. Allegations of wrongdoing have been circulating about him for years. But like Teflon, not much stuck to Evans, unlike Marion Barry, Kwame Brown, Michael Brown, Harry Thomas, or Jim Graham. Many believed it was because Evans is white, that he was able to dodge the degree of scandal that ended the political careers of the others. But even that did not keep his colleagues on the Council from planning to expel him after stripping him of his committee chairmanship last July.
Evans served the District for nearly 30 years and significantly shaped current policies and legislation. As the longest-serving member of the Council, he will be missed if for nothing more than his keen institutional memory often needed during Council deliberations. His departure leaves a void and it will mark a new day for District politics when the soon-to-be-vacant Ward 2 seat is filled.