From Michelle Lancaster
Borderstan is covering four contested Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) races in the three local ANCs: ANC 1B02, 1B04, 2B09 and 2F06. The general election is Nov. 2.
Todayâ€™s interview is with 1B02 candidate Aaron Spencer who is one of two challengers against one-term incumbent Peter Raia (Borderstan interview). The third candidate in the race is Tucker Gallagher (Borderstan interview).
ANC 1B02 is in the heart of the U Street neighborhood and this district runs along U Street from 14th St. east to 9th St., and from S St. on the south to as far north as Florida Ave. in some places. You can learn more about 1B02 at the DC Citizen Atlas. ANC 1B has 11 commissioners and covers a large geographic area.
ANC commissioners are elected from Single Member Districts (SMDs) in the cityâ€™s 37 ANCs. While the number of commissioners in each ANC varies, each SMD has approximately 2,000 residents. (See links to related posts at bottom.)
Borderstan: Please provide your name, age and a brief biography, including number of years residing in DC and your ANC district.
Spencer: I have lived in 1B02 for over a year and in D.C. for almost five years. I have a background in elementary education and natural resource management. Prior to moving to D.C., I worked in education, advocacy, and development in small and medium communities in Latin America. I also taught third grade in California before getting a masterâ€™s degree in sustainable international development.Â Currently, I do environmental cooperation work at the U.S. State Department. My hobbies include rock climbing, tennis, chess and getting to know the U St. Corridor.
Borderstan: How â€“ and how often â€“ would you reach out to constituents, both residential and business?
Spencer: I would reach out to constituents with a monthly email message that includes pertinent information about what is going on in 1B02.I would also reach out to blogs and local media to help disseminate important happenings. I would commit to attending neighborhood and condo association meetings on a quarterly basis, and working with business owners, including the MidCity Business Association, to host events that cater to 1B02 constituents. This will provide an opportunity to celebrate the great place we live and foster a sense of community.
Borderstan: What do you see as the most important three functions of an ANC commissioner, in order of priority?
Spencer: (1) Communication: ANC commissioners must use active listening and instigate traditional and non-traditional means of dialogue between city government, businesses and fellow constituents. (2) Strategic Planning: An ANC commissioner should provide a venue where citizens and businesses can come together to actively dialogue and strategically plan.Â They should use facilitation skills and maintain an environment of respect and humility, especially when dealing with controversial issues. (3) Knowing the Neighborhood “Ins and Outs”: A commissioner should be able to quickly connect residents to points of contacts that can answer questions and solve challenges.
Borderstan: What is your vision for the 14th & U corridor?
Spencer: I see: a corridor with a diverse group of businesses; a day life that is as active as the nightlife; trees, murals and greater foot traffic. I see a corridor that is eventually branded as one of the most interesting and enjoyable to visit in the city and one that embraces our diversity, while enhancing the quality of life for local residents.
Borderstan: Who are the three owners of three local businesses in your district (or the entire ANC) that you turn to for advice on business-related issues?
Spencer: I don’t think itâ€™s appropriate to single out three businesses for advice.Â I would make it a point to visit local businesses regularly for feedback and have an open ear, regardless of the business size or status.
Borderstan: What is the most important thing voters should know about you prior to the election?
Spencer: I’m a determined, problem solving, outgoing and authentic individual.Â What you see is what you get. I’m not beholden to anybody.
ANC Candidate Interview Series
- Know a Candidate: Kate McMahon, ANC 2F06 (Oct. 26, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Ramon Estrada, ANC 2B09 (Oct. 25, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: William Girardo, ANC 1B04 (Oct. 24, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Mike Benardo, ANC 2F06 (Oct. 23, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Peter Raia, ANC 1B02 (Oct. 22, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Sunit Talapatra, ANC 2B09 (Oct. 21, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Deborah Thomas, ANC 1B04 (Oct. 20, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Tucker Gallagher, ANC 1B02 (Oct. 19, 2010)