D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray won’t be the only GW alumnus vying for the mayor’s seat this Election Day.
Ryan Hutcherson, a 2004 graduate, is challenging Gray with a write-in campaign for the city’s highest local position.
Although Gray won 53 percent of the vote to beat incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary in September, Hutcherson, 28, said he believes that “winning is possible” and hopes to bring a young person’s perspective to the mayor’s office.
“The District needs a young leader who is in touch with young people’s issues, who speaks candidly and someone who is open to talking about clarity,” Hutcherson said.
Hutcherson said his main concern is that not enough young people are going to make it out to the polls Nov. 2. He hopes his campaign can create excitement for voters in the city.
“We’re not engaged in this town. Six hundred thousand people live here and only 23 percent of residents participated in the primary. Young people haven’t been given options,” he said, referring to a lack of variety among political candidates.
Hutcherson has no experience holding a government office, but does not see his lack of government ties as a negative.
He plans on working with Gray if elected.
“Gray has been in public service for quite some time now and if elected I plan on talking to him on ways we can work together,” Hutcherson said. “He has a knowledge of the system that I don’t have.”
If Hutcherson were elected, he would be D.C.’s youngest and first gay mayor.
The self-proclaimed independent lives in the Petworth neighborhood of D.C. and said he “doesn’t like party politics or labels,” and wants to tackle issues in a “socially and economically responsible way.”
He has worked as an advance associate for the White House, helping to execute first lady Michelle Obama’s schedule during her travels. Previously, he worked on President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.
“I realized I wanted to maximize my impact after traveling with the Obama campaign. I started to have this crazy idea in my head of running for mayor,” Hutcherson said. “I was never super engaged in D.C. politics but I want to see progress in the city.”
Hutcherson has largely conducted his political efforts alone, with the sporadic help of friends.
“I wanted to see what it would be like if one person tried to pull it off by himself,” he said.
He said he hopes to improve the District’s high unemployment rates by enrolling people in job training programs so they can learn to be self-employed and eventually establish their own businesses.
“People want to work for themselves and I want to do more to help people chart that path,” he said.
On the subject of education, Hutcherson said he agrees with Gray’s education reforms and wants to provide laptops to all public school students.
“Every student needs access to the Internet. Think about how our kids communicate,” he said.
Regardless of whether he is victorious or not, Hutcherson said he wants to continue to help improve the District and ultimately wants to make D.C. “better for everyone.”?
“I think that I would be in a more unique position to execute with real results because I am independent and can work with everyone,” he said.