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.
Today’s interview is with Deborah Thomas, five-term incumbent and candidate for re-election in ANC 1B04; she received 65% of the vote in 2008 against challenger Dee Hunter. This year, William Girardo is running against Thomas; Borderstan will run Girardo’s interview on Sunday, Oct. 24.
1B04 is on the northwest side of the U St. neighborhood and covers a swath from 12th Street to New Hampshire Ave. south of Florida Ave. NW, running along U Street from 14th to 15th St. You can learn more about the district at the DC Citizen Atlas. ANC 1B has 11 commissioners and covers a large geographic area to the north.
ANC commissioners are elected from Single Member Districts (SMDs) in the city’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 ANC district.
Thomas: Deborah Thomas. I have lived on the 1400 block of W St. for more than 30-plus years, where I led the conversion of a multi-unit rental building to one that is now owned and managed by those who live there. I am 56 years old and have lived my entire life, and raised my four children and two grandchildren in Washington, D.C. I’ve served as ANC 1B04 commissioner beginning in 2000, totaling 10 years of experience.
Borderstan: How – and how often – would you reach out to constituents, both residential and business?
Thomas: My involvement in the community has been to primarily serve how families and the commercial district interact. I ran a Summer Youth Employment Program for the past two years to help prepare more than 50 teenagers living in the area in the day-to-day responsibilities of work, and being a positive contribution to the neighborhood. I participate in the various neighborhood, condo, co-op and tenant association meetings in the ANC 1B district. I’ve partnered with the owner of Bicycle Station located at 2204 14th St. NW, who has donated bikes to more than 30 neighborhood youth that he has taken on early Saturday morning bike rides. I’ve participated in community cleanups and spearheaded Mayor Fenty’s neighborhood walks. I’ve shopped and worked with various businesses in the neighborhood, partnering with them to provide the neighborhood youth with valuable work experience. Among these businesses have been Martha’s Table, Emmae May Gallery, Reeves Center Convenience Store, Augustana Church and the Green Team.
Borderstan: What do you see as the most important three functions of an ANC commissioner, in order of priority?
Thomas: Addressing the needs of residents and the businesses of the 14th and U community while supporting the diversity of the area, both new and old. Bridging the gap between the constituents and city services. Working to find and advocate for viable solutions to address challenges of living in a mixed-use community, such as trash, policing and responsible development.
Borderstan: What is your vision for the 14th & U St. corridor?
Thomas: My vision is to see and create balance between residential and commercial needs along the U and 14th St. Corridor.
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?
Thomas: Bicycle Station, Martha’s Table, 9:30 Club, and for the overall knowledge, I depend on the MidCity Business Association.
Borderstan: What is the most important thing voters should know about you prior to the election?
Thomas: I consider myself a stateswoman and not a politician. My job as your commissioner is to be well-informed, honest, fair and consistent. My priority is addressing the issues of my constituents, which include residents as well as responsible, locally owned and operated businesses. My belief is that everyone should be heard.
ANC Candidate Interview Series
- Know a Candidate: Tucker Gallagher, ANC 1B02 (Oct. 19, 2010)