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Once the Honorable Erik P. Christian administered the oath of office on Wednesday afternoon, Kenyan McDuffie became Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie of Ward 5.
When McDuffie first appeared in the standing-room-only crowd, the audience stood up and applauded for him. When he started speaking about the support he received from his family and especially from his wife, those seated responded, “Amen,” as if the Wilson Building were a church.
Then again, McDuffie for some represents change that’s needed in the District, after the disaster that was Harry Thomas Jr.’s downfall. Which may explain the packed house to watch him be sworn in. McDuffie shook hands with supporters after the ceremony was officially over, then took pictures with everyone in the room who asked, before heading to his new office in room 410.
He shook hands through the hallway and hugged, shook hands and hugged, shook hands and hugged. Food was served in his office as a line formed. Staff carried plates of macaroni, veggies, and chicken wings to their desks and through the growing crowd.
Between taking photos with his family and greeting supporters at his office, McDuffie stopped to chat briefly with Washington City Paper.
“I’m going to reach out to have the most transparent and inclusive office,” he said.
As for what kind of councilmember the residents of Ward 5 can look forward to?
“Expect a councilmember who will hold himself to the highest personal standards of integrity,” McDuffie said. “Expect a councilmember that’s going to be inclusive, who is going to represent every neighborhood in the entire ward and reach out to every person throughout the ward. Expect a councilmember who is going to work to achieve results.”
And with that, it was back to the party.
Photo by Sudip Bhattacharya