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D.C. political hopefuls angle for a new job.

On a rainy, late-September morning, Edward Chico Troy, Statehood Green Party candidate for the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat, sets out along Georgia Avenue, lobbying store owners to let him tape campaign posters up in their front windows. Along the way, he pauses to chat up the locals on city politics.

One part of Troy’s stock campaign pitch, though, has nothing to do with the District’s budget crisis or the incumbent’s performance. At the end of several conversations, he tells business owners, “If you ever need anything printed, you can give me a call.”

While he’s trying to get elected, Troy is still working as an account executive for a printing company, Select Printing. Like many other challengers in Tuesday’s election, he’s hoping to change jobs but needs to pay the rent.

A spot on the D.C. Council would be a sweet billet for Troy: Councilmembers get unlimited vacation, a salary of $92,520 for part-time work, and four years of rock-solid job security, barring an almost impossible recall campaign. The candidates for mayor, meanwhile, are angling for a job that pays $133,700 and provides plenty of travel opportunities.

Troy and other wannabe pols are seeking to leave behind a range of occupations. Civil servants, publicists, and self-employed consultants are well-represented among the candidates in 2002. Most share one key trait: Winning office would be a big trade up, careerwise.

Independent at-large council candidate Ahmad Braxton-Jones, for instance, is voluntarily unemployed and living at the Community for Creative Non-Violence homeless shelter since June 30. “I could sustain living there because I knew I had a purpose,” he says. “That way I could maximize my time.”

Independent mayoral hopeful Tricia Kinch has a less extreme tale of campaign-trail sacrifice. She left a public-affairs position with the Federal Communications Commission to campaign full time. Robert Moore, a write-in mayoral candidate and a multimedia producer by trade, saved up $11,000 so he could stop working in June and focus on his run.

Others are trying to work their stump time in around their regular jobs—skipping lunch to shake hands at Metro stops, rising early to find voters waiting at the DMV inspection station, making the rounds of community meetings and candidate forums. Often, this leaves them playing catch-up. Dee Hunter, who tried and failed to unseat Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham in September’s primary, says that he recruited an associate for his law practice to help him deal with the work he missed while campaigning. “Unfortunately, cases are like children—you can’t just leave them alone,” Hunter says.

Steve Donkin, the Statehood Green mayoral candidate, parcels out his energies. Until recently, he worked as an environmental consultant; now he teaches biology and chemistry and H.D. Woodson High School. He prefers to do his canvassing on Saturdays.

“I’m not in this to kill myself,” Donkin says.

Like any other job applicants, the District’s would-be leaders have to stand on their work experience. The Washington City Paper surveyed this year’s political aspirants to find out where they’re coming from—and why they might want to leave. Here are the results.CP

Don’t Quit the Day Job:

Challenger: Antonio Dominguez

Affiliation: Independent

Candidate for… At-large council

Employment Information: Child-support enforcement officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia

Salary: $40,000

Comment: In addition to letting him use his law-enforcement

skills and help kids, his job lets him “give the taxpayer…some relief.”

Challenger: Steve Donkin

Affiliation: D.C. Statehood

Candidate for… Mayor

Employment Information: Former environmental consultant; Greenbiology/chemistry teacher in D.C. public high school

Salary: About $40,000

Comment: “I like interacting with the students. It’s a challenging job.”

Challenger: Edward Henry Wolterbeek

Affiliation: Republican

Candidate for… Ward 5 council

Employment Information: Substitute teacher in Anne Arundel County; varsity sports official; real-estate broker/certified buyers representative

Salary: $80,000 (estimate of combined earnings from teaching, refereeing, investment, and interest)

Comment: “You take time to help the youth of today, they take the time to help you tomorrow.”

Challenger: Gail Dixon

Affiliation: D.C. Statehood

Candidate for… Ward 5 council

Employment Information: House manager at UDC Greenauditorium

Salary: “Less than $30,000”

Comment: Work is “mainly event-oriented; it fluctuates.”

Challenger: Edward Chico Troy

Affiliation: D.C. Statehood

Candidate for… Ward 1 council

Employment Information: Account executive for Greena printing company

Salary: Paid on commission. “They have great expectations,” which he says he’ll exceed.

Comment: “I’m a people person, so [the job] allows me to talk

to people.”

Forced Out of the Day Job:

Challenger: Michele Tingling-Clemmons

Affiliation: D.C. Statehood

Candidate for… At-large council

Employment Information: Former director of D.C.’s Special Nutrition and Commodities Distribution Program (Loose Lips, 4/19)

Salary: $94,000

Comment: Her job “was an opportunity to apply my skills and

serve my community”; her ouster stemmed from “petty partisan politics”

Already Quit the Day Job:

Challenger: Kweku Toure

Affiliation: Independent

Candidate for… At-large council

Employment Information: Former project manager at Vocational Opportunities Training Education and Employment Unit at D.C.’s Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (resigned to campaign)

Salary: $80,000, plus $8/hour as youth counselor and $9/hour as physical-fitness trainer

Comment: “There wasn’t a city office I didn’t touch in D.C.”

Challenger: Eugene Kinlow

Affiliation: Independent

Candidate for… At-large council

Employment Information: Former director of Washington East Foundation (resigned to campaign)

Salary: “It was not enough.”

Comment: “It was important that this organization highlight all the good things [that happen] east of the river.”

Challenger: Debby Hanrahan

Affiliation: D.C. Statehood

Candidate for… Council chair

Employment Information: Retiree; previously a Greenreal-estate agent, Peace Corps volunteer, and staffer for Statehood Party co-founders Julius Hobson and Hilda Mason


Comment: “I worked for some great people. I saw a lot of history made.”

Challenger: Robert Moore

Affiliation: Independent

Candidate for… Mayor (write-in)

Employment Information: Self-employed as multimedia producer (took break to campaign)

Salary: Between $30,000 and $60,000

Comment: “I see [my work] as an extension of my whole involvement in communication,” stretching into his days as a journalist and student activist.

What’s That Day Job, Again?

Challenger: Ahmad Braxton-Jones

Affiliation: Independent

Candidate for… At-large council

Employment Information: President of THUG (Together Healing Under God) Life

Salary: Unpaid

Comment: “I wouldn’t have been able to have energy to work and organize my campaign at the same time.”

Challenger: Adam Eidinger

Affiliation: D.C. Statehood

Candidate for… Shadow representative

Employment Information: Founding member of Mintwood Media Collective

Salary: About $25,000 annually

Comment: “I really don’t have a boss. This is a business that is

run as a cooperative with other people….I work on things I care about.”

Challenger: Norma Sasaki

Affiliation: Republican

Candidate for… Shadow senator

Employment Information: Antiques dealer; tissue-bank consultant

Salary: “Not very much”; projects $5,000 to $6,000 this year from consulting work and $30,000 or less from antiques dealing.

Comment: Enjoys antiquing “more for the social [aspects] than the actual moneymaking.”



Candidate for…

Employment Information:



Joyce Robinson-PaulD.C. Statehood Shadow senatorConsultant in “housing “It could be from zero “Basically, you get to touch base with our future

Greenand youth development”to whatever, what I work leaders…[and] get them involved in community


Challenger: Jenefer Ellingston

Affiliation: D.C. Statehood

Candidate for… Ward 6 council

Employment Information: Part-time bookstore clerk

Salary: “I prefer not to say….It’s a suitable amount.”

Comment: “Obviously that gives me a little more time than if

I were 9 to 5.”

Challenger: Eric Rojo

Affiliation: Republican

Candidate for… Ward 3 council

Employment Information: Executive for two consulting firms

Salary: “It varies from year to year….I have good years and I have bad years.”

Comment: “I don’t punch a clock. I make my own schedule.”