An alumnus will likely be named a commissioner to Foggy Bottom’s flagship neighborhood group, after he runs an unopposed race to fill a seat left vacant after a Foggy Bottom commissioner resigned Aug. 30.
Under D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics rules, candidates who run unopposed to fill a vacant ANC position are “deemed” commissioners and assume the role after being sworn in by a D.C. Council member.
Oct. 13 ends the “challenge period” for an individual to contest alumnus’ Graham Galka, 26, candidacy.
Galka graduated from the Elliott School of International Affairs in 2008.
“I think Foggy Bottom is a great place to work, study and live,” he said.
He said he sees three main communities within Foggy Bottom – educational, professional and residential – and thinks he would serve constituents well because he has been a part of each community at some point.
Galka said being an alumnus is “only one piece of value I bring to the ANC,” adding that he equally weighs his role as a businessman and community resident in his experiences.
He opened Relaxed Tanning & Day Spa, located on F Street, as a sophomore with alumnus and local businessman Kris Hart, and left the company just before earning his degree. Now, Galka works at The Advisory Board Company, a global research, health care technology and consulting firm near 24th and M streets.
He said he ran to bring a “unique perspective” to the commission and community, with the promise to act with community’s best interests in mind. He said he also hopes to bridge the communication gap between constituents and commissioners to change the “us versus them” mentality. He declined to share further goals.
Each of the six single-member districts within the area has a commissioner who represents its smaller constituency on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
The position to represent Columbia Plaza opened up when former ANC commissioner Eric Malinen retired in late August after joining the commission in 2008.
ANC contenders typically do not fundraise, but they are required to file a financial statement to the Office of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, detailing accepted contributions and expenditures within 60 days of filling a vacant seat. There is a $25 cap on donations to an ANC candidate.
University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the University “is proud of the achievements of our individual alumni,” but does not endorse candidates in ANC races. u
This article appeared in the October 13, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.