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Vince Gray never said Yvette Alexander‘s name at his Ward 7 campaign event last night, but that didn’t stop the former mayor from throwing plenty of jabs at his incumbent opponent for the ward’s D.C. Council seat.
The event at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church on Alabama Ave. SE, billed as a “townhall,” featured Gray’s stump speech and a few questions from the audience. But it also featured a preview of Gray’s planned attacks on his former political ally.
In the last weeks of his flagging 2014 mayoral re-election campaign, Gray proposed spending more than $20 million to study the construction of a new hospital to replace Ward 8’s United Medical Center. Gray’s proposed new hospital would have been the only hospital east of the Anacostia River—and thus, the closest hospital option for many in Ward 7.
Before the money could be spent, though, Alexander used her position as chair of the Council’s health committee to strip much of the money out. Alexander’s budget maneuver started a feud with Gray that could come back to haunt her.
It would be one thing, Gray said last night, if a cross-town councilmember had taken away the money. But taking money meant for a hospital near Ward 7 residents was “short-sighted.”
“Don’t do this to your own constituents,” Gray said.
Asked about Gray’s remarks, Alexander insists there was no plan on how to spend the money.
“There was no hospital to take away,” Alexander says.
After touting a series of new and renovated government buildings in Ward 7 during his mayoralty, Gray feigned surprise to find them listed as Alexander’s accomplishments on her own campaign literature.
“This has another name on it,” Gray said, pretending to be baffled by an Alexander pamphlet.
Alexander says she’s not taking any credit where no credit is due. After all, she points out, she was the ward’s councilmember while Gray was mayor.
“’This is mine,'” Alexander says, paraphrasing her former ally’s complaints. “‘Me, me, me.'”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery