Borderstan is covering the October 19 special election to fill the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B’s vacant seat in Single Member District 1B02 (SMD). Today’s interview is with Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling, one of two candidates seeking the 1B02 seat. The other candidate is Stanley Mayes and his profile will appear tomorrow.
The special election is Wednesday, October 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Thurgood Marshall Center at 1816 12th Street NW. Voters must either present their voter ID card indicating that they live within 1B02 boundaries and/or be listed on the DC Board of Elections and Ethics voter registration list. The seat has been vacant since Commissioner Aaron Spencer resigned because he was moving out of the SMD.
ANC 1B has 11 commissioners and covers a large geographic area. ANC 1B02 is in the heart of the U Street neighborhood and this district runs along U Street from 14th Street east to 9th Street, and from S Street on the south to as far north as Florida Avenue NW in some places. The size of the SMD will be reduced during the redistricting process currently underway due to heavy population growth.
ANC commissioners are elected from SMDs in the city’s 37 ANCs. Each SMD has approximately 2,000 residents.
Borderstan: Please provide your name, age and a brief biography, including number of years residing in DC and your ANC district.
Lewin-Zwerdling: My name is Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling, and I’m 29 years old. My husband and I bought our home on Wallach Place last year and prior to that lived just outside 1B02 on Church Street closer to Logan Circle. I’ve lived in the DC for the past six years, with a stint back to New York to finish graduate school.
I work in public health, specifically food policy, and am committed to smart growth in the U St neighborhood. I am incredibly excited to represent the residents of 1B02 and to work with the other commissioners in 1B. I’ve been out canvassing and meeting residents since the 1B02 seat became vacant and have gotten a good sense of the many issues important to residents. There’s a lot or work to be done, and if elected, I will take my role as commissioner very seriously.
Borderstan: How – and how often – would you reach out to constituents, both residential and business?
Lewin-Zwerdling: I currently, and will continue to, attend ANC and neighborhood meetings, and will establish an open monthly meeting for residents of 1B02. I will also maintain an email list and some type of blog to make sure my constituents can not only weigh in on what’s important but also be up-to-date on neighborhood events, changes, meeting minutes, etc.
If elected I will also reach out to constituents to determine what methods they prefer to get my updates. I will do the same for local businesses. From that I hope to be able to connect with the 1B02 community and forge strong communication between and among residents and local businesses. Last, I will attend all relevant committee meetings to make sure constituents have an opportunity to weigh in about new developments, liquor licenses, etc.
Borderstan: What do you see as the most important three functions of an ANC commissioner, in order of priority?
Lewin-Zwerdling: (1) Transparency. I want to make sure the residents of 1B02 know when and how to weigh in on issues that may impact them now and in the future. With this comes an obligation for me to create strong and open lines of communication. (2) Safety. It’s incredibly important to make sure safety issues get addressed, and that a commissioner works with other elected officials, police, and first responders to ensure we create a safe community. (3) Smart Growth. I want to make sure local businesses in the area can thrive while creating a mutually beneficial outcome for both businesses and residents.
Borderstan: What is your vision for the 14th & U corridor?
Lewin-Zwerdling: As a public health professional, I am very interested in bringing a mix of restaurants and creating a safe, walkable community with businesses that add to the uniqueness of this neighborhood. I’d also like to create a community that feels empowered to communicate, weigh in, and help make decisions that ultimately help shape their backyard. If elected as commissioner, I’d expect my vision of the ‘gold standard’ ANC1B to develop over time to reflect what I’m hearing from residents, some of their concerns and challenges, as well as what they like about the neighborhood.”