Two candidates vying for a D.C. City Council seat made appearances at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Wednesday night at St. Stephen-Martyr Church. Only one was there to talk about the election, however.
Councilman Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Christina Culver (R) attended at last night’s meeting for two very different purposes.
Evans, the incumbent, came to update residents about the state of the local economy and public safety issues. Culver was there to campaign for a seat that has never been won by a Republican.
Evans recently won the Democratic primary against GW alumnus Cary Silverman. Silverman said in his campaign that Evans is detached from neighborhood concerns, and Evans said on Wednesday that he will begin to regularly attend their ANC meetings.
Culver began her address by touting her small-town, Midwest roots as inspiration for her campaign to bring a new sense of community to the District. Her announcement that she was there to usurp Evans’ seat was an abrupt shift from Evan’s nonpartisan speech.
Culver promised to bring small-town values back to a city that was recently shocked by a $40 million dollar tax scandal, in which a mid-level manager and nine accomplices stole nearly $50 million in taxpayer money. Evans has been the chair of the finance and revenue committee for the past 10 years.
“I believe in a sense of community,” said Culver. “I believe in a neighborhood that is not just about bright lights.”
Culver comes from Lawrence, Kan., where she was a Sunday school teacher and a lawyer. She arrived in D.C. 20 years ago to intern with Sen. Bob Dole and later worked for the Department of Education.
But she faces a steep uphill battle in a city where 75 percent of voters are registered Democrats.
Both Evans and Culver touched on the recent economic crisis at the meeting.
Evans reported on the $130 million loss the city suffered in the recent financial crisis. He said the city’s budget was still relatively secure, compared to the $1 billion shortfall facing cities in Maryland and Virginia.
Culver’s solution for the faltering D.C. economy centered around encouraging expansion of small businesses and the technology sector within the city.
“This is the worst entrepreneurial city in the country. It is the toughest place to open a small business,” said Culver, who championed technological upgrades and greater transparency as means to bolster D.C.’s economy.
Evans also discussed the public safety concerns in Foggy Bottom, especially with Halloween and Election Day in the coming weeks. He promised a strong police presence in what he called “ground central for Halloween,” a nod to the numerous events held on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown.
Evans said the upcoming election will be an exciting experience for the city.
“I am predicting a big Obama victory, and I expect there will be a lot of celebration in the city,” he said.
Near the end of the evening, Evans left for another engagement, but Culver remained until it concluded.