Could it be that during all the recent candidate forums in Ward 7, no one has asked candidate Kevin B. Chavous about his arrest and subsequent plea deal on a charge of soliciting prostitution? That’s what a couple wags who have been to these debates tell LL.
That changed last night at the Washington City Paper/WPFW Ward 7 debate at Ray’s the Steaks at East River, when Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander finally went there.
As is the custom of these debates, candidates were given a chance to ask one of their opponents a question. None of the candidates—Dorothy Douglas, the Rev. Bill Bennett, Republican Don Folden (who crashed the debate, which was intended to be for Democratic candidates only), Tom Brown, or Alexander—initially asked Chavous about the arrest. But when Chavous used his turn to ask Alexander about her constituent service fund’s lack of spending on constituents and her staff’s connections to a new Walmart planned for the ward, Alexander took offense at what she said she saw as an attack on her integrity. So she responded with a question of her own, asking Chavous about his arrest and his integrity.
At that point, the crowd went nuts.
LL thought Chavous, who had clearly prepared for such a question, handled the situation pretty well. He acknowledged that he’d been arrested and that everyone knew it, but said he was “unbroken and unbowed.” He also said his legal imbroglio never comes up on the campaign trail and is a non-issue in this campaign. “Ward 7 has moved on, and so have I,” he said.
After the debate, Chavous’s father, former Ward 7 Councilmember Kevin P. Chavous, went up to Alexander and shared with her a piece of his mind. “I don’t think she conducted herself the way an incumbent should, and I told her that,” Chavous told LL later.
Alexander said she didn’t hear what Chavous had said, but noted that “he was highly upset.” But she said she makes no apologies for bringing up Chavous the Younger’s arrest after he questioned her character. “He opened himself up for that,” she told LL. “I uphold the law.”
Photo by Mike Madden