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Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser launched her mayoral campaign this morning outside her childhood home in North Michigan Park, telling a group of 100 or so supporters, reporters, and lookers-on who crowded onto 7th Street NE that the District needs new leadership so it can be “the most responsive and the most innovated government in the entire world.”

In a relatively short speech, Bowser, whose candidacy has been a somewhat forgone conclusion for several months, talked about the need for better schools, better senior care, and a better city in general, but spent much of her time indirectly criticizing the current mayor and her potential rival, if he runs for a second term, Vince Gray. The Democratic primary, which in D.C. effectively decides the winner of most elections, would most likely be a little more than a year from now, on April 1, 2014.

“As I’ve gotten around the city you’ve told me that you’re disappointed, that the work of the District of Columbia has been sidetracked. Corruption has robbed us of our focus, our momentum, our need to think big and act swiftly,” Bowser said. “We settled into managing the status quo, riding the success of our past instead of shaping the landscape of our future. And it’s showing up too, slower service deliver, missed deadlines, taskforce upon taskforce, and hits to our regional reputation.”

Bowser borrowed heavily from the campaign themes of ex-Mayor Adrian Fenty, who launched Bowser’s political career and lost to Gray in 2010. Bowser said the District was hungry for a mayor who governs with “energy,” “urgency,” and produces “real change,” which were some of Fenty’s favorite buzzwords.

But the nub of Bowser’s speech: she said the city wants “a mayor to make us proud again.”

No councilmembers came to Bowser’s kickoff, and the event wasn’t teeming with local politicos. Fenty wasn’t there, but several of his supporters did come by, including former Councilmember Bill Lightfoot, Fenty campaign treasurer Ben Soto, former development director (and fire truck donor) David Jannerone, and campaign advisor Tom Lindenfeld.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery