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What is this town coming to? Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry once banned then-LL Elissa Silverman from talking to him, but now that she’s running for a D.C. Council at-large seat, Barry says he wants her to join him on the dais. In a statement released tonight, Barry endorsed Silverman, although he concedes that she “was not one of my favorites” as a reporter.
Barry also repeated his support for his longtime pal Councilmember Anita Bonds‘ re-election bid for the other available at-large seat.
While working for Washington City Paper and the Washington Post, Silverman wrote a mock speech for Barry, chronicled his adventures with a farcical invention called the “gasifier,” and dug into his health woes.
“I recognize that my support for Elissa will strike many as a surprise,” Barry says in his statement. “During her tenure as a reporter for the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper, she was not one of my favorites, and never in a million years did I think I’d be supporting her today. In thinking about Ms. Silverman, I know she was only carrying out her duties as a journalist.”
Silverman’s Barry endorsement has been scuttlebutt for a while. Last week, Barry conceded to LL that there was a rumor he would back her, but declined to reveal whether he’d make that rumor into reality.
Silverman’s goo-goo reformer type supporters might wonder how a candidate who voluntarily refuses corporate contributions squares accepting the support of a councilmember who voluntarily takes illicit cash from contractors. So LL asked Silverman how she explains teaming up with the current record-holder for Council censures.
“Councilmember Barry said it himself: I was a tough reporter, and not his favorite,” Silverman said in a statement from her campaign. “But I’ve also been a tireless advocate for his constituents, and I am the best candidate for anyone who cares about poverty in our city.”
Barry’s endorsement should help Silverman pick up at least a few more votes in Barry’s ward than she did when she ran in April 2013’s special election. Then, she received just 125 votes in Ward 8 to come in third place, behind Bonds… and Michael Brown, who had dropped out of the race before Election Day. (Silverman finished second citywide anyway, though.)
Barry’s press release:
Former Four-Term Mayor of the District of Columbia and Current Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry Supports Councilmember Anita Bonds for Re-election and Elissa Silverman, Candidate for At-Large, City-wide Council Seat
(Washington, D.C.) I want to reiterate my strong support for my longtime friend and colleague, At-large Councilmember Anita Bonds. My support for Anita is not a secret. I’ve known Anita for 40 years. She has served as the Chair of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, and personally as my campaign manager, deputy campaign manager and in a variety of other influential roles.
Anita brings a wealth of knowledge to the City Council. She has worked tirelessly to assist in developing a progressive agenda including job creation, seniors and other issues pertinent to District residents.
What many are eager to learn is who will I publicly support for the second vacant At-large City Council seat?
Under the City’s charter, there are two council seats set aside for candidates who are not members of the majority party. Therefore, it is impossible for me to endorse two Democrats, which I wish I could do. I can only vote for one Democrat, and one non-Democrat.
This Council needs additional progressive voices–those who are going to oppose cutting TANF benefits, supporting issues relevant to labor, leaders who believe in social justice, support raising the minimum wage, expanding paid sick days for workers, affordable housing, income equality, minority business and a variety of other issues that reduce poverty.
There are a lot of candidates who are worthy of support, however, I can only choose one, and my choice is Elissa Silverman.
Today, I join the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO, the D.C. Police Union, the Sierra Club, the Washington Teachers’ Union and other notable organizations in supporting and fully endorsing Elissa Silverman for the city-wide, At-large City Council seat.
My decision was not an easy decision.
I recognize that my support for Elissa will strike many as a surprise. During her tenure as a reporter for the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper, she was not one of my favorites, and never in a million years did I think I’d be supporting her today. In thinking about Ms. Silverman, I know she was only carrying out her duties as a journalist.
As a result of her journalism background, Elissa has a deep understanding of D.C. politics. She also served as a budget analyst for the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, where she analyzed the City’s budget. Because of her hands on experience, Elissa, in my view, is knowledgeable on the issues. I look forward to working with her and partnering with her in an effort to aggressively move the District forward and promote a progressive agenda.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery