After challenging incumbent Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) in last year’s Democratic primary, Bryan Weaver is running for an At-Large Council seat in the April 26 special election. The seat opened up when Kwame Brown was elected Council Chairman; Sekou Biddle was temporarily appointed to the seat and is running for a full term. Since a number of Borderstan readers reside in Ward 1, we interviewed the two candidates who live in Ward 1, Patrick Mara and Weaver.
The profiles of Mara and Weaver are meant to provide readers with some insights into both candidates — with an emphasis on the personal as opposed to the political. Both Mara and Weaver are among the seven candidates scheduled to appear at Tuesday evening’s candidate forum at the Church of the Holy City, 16th and Corcoran Streets NW, at 6 pm.
Borderstan: When and why did you first move to D.C.? Where have you lived in D.C.?
Weaver: I moved to D.C. in 1991 to attend Howard University. One could argue that as a resident of Adams Morgan, I live on the border of the Borderstan area, but before moving to Adams Morgan with my wife, I lived in Columbia Heights and Pleasant Plains.
Borderstan: Favorite thing about living in the neighborhood? Least favorite?
Weaver: Diversity of people, diversity of businesses, the fact that it’s a total walkable community and there are some great places to eat. My least favorite thing would be losing some of the more unique businesses like HR-57, and that we’re still dealing with high rates of muggings and property crime.
Borderstan: Tell us about yourself. What do you do, how’d you end up doing that and why do you love what you do?
Weaver: I run a small nonprofit that takes at-risk students to Guatemala each summer for five weeks. I started Hoops Sagrado after spending time in Guatemala earning Spanish-language credits and realizing that the struggles the young Mayan children face aren’t that different than the struggles faced by the young people here in D.C. I love what I do because I love working with the kids both in Guatemala and in D.C.
Borderstan: You survived the ballot challenge and seem to be staffed with a tight knit group of friends. What’s been the biggest challenge so far in the campaign, and what’s been the most rewarding part of running?
Weaver: The biggest challenge would be getting the word out citywide, not just about me, but the fact that there is an election at all—especially because the stakes are so high for D.C. right now. The most rewarding thing is the people I meet from all over the city. I have a huge group of extremely diverse people who have volunteered their time to go out and knock on doors for me, host events for me, stuff envelopes — people who I really didn’t know before now.
Borderstan: The City Council has been very much in the news lately. If you were to give some advice to (and also try to gain some from) Mayor Gray, you’re going to take him to lunch (just imagine!). Where do you take him for lunch and what’s your top agenda item? What about President Obama?
Weaver: Near the Wilson building, I would find the closest food truck and then we could sit in Freedom Plaza and talk about issues. I think my top agenda items would be (it’s hard to pick one) the current state of politics in the District, our budget and then how we can work better to provide for our youngest residents from cradle to career. As for President Obama, I’d say we grab a Duffy’s Monster Burger and some fried pickles, and head to Harrison Park to shoot some hoops and talk policy. Of course the top agenda item would be voting rights and ultimately statehood for the District.
Borderstan: If you could sit down with one person of recent D.C. history (Adrian Fenty, Michelle Rhee, Helen Thomas, the Salahis…), who would it be and why?
Weaver: My friend Jamal Coates. And why? Because there are so many unfinished conversations. (Editor’s note: see Scholarship Fund Memorializes U St. Murder Victim.)
Borderstan: Enough serious stuff — show us your fun side! You just won the lottery and you are taking friends out to celebrate. Where are you headed?
Weaver: Depending on the size of the payout, we’re either headed in a private jet to Cardinali’s in Xela, Guatemala, or Bad Brains is playing a private show on the rooftop of the Reef.
Borderstan: You are absolutely required to be a contestant on a reality show, but you are allowed to choose which show. What are we watching you on?
Weaver: Deadliest Catch.