Two juniors announce candidacies for seats on local governing body

Patrick Kennedy, a junior, filed his candidacy documents Monday with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics to become a candidate for the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission. Hatchet File Photo

Updated July 11, 2012, 10:53 a.m.

Two juniors are vying for seats on Foggy Bottom’s top neighborhood group this November.

Patrick Kennedy, a political science major and the Student Association’s vice president of community affairs, filed his candidacy Monday with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics – the first step to getting on the ballot for the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission election.

The commission is one of about 40 advocacy groups across the District that advise city agencies on traffic, noise, construction and liquor laws.

“I think students have a lot to offer the neighborhood in terms of expertise and volunteer time,” Kennedy said. “[Neighbors] want to talk to students, and I think a lot of them want to share their experiences and their concerns with students.”

The Florida native said his to-do list, if elected, includes preserving the neighborhood’s historic buildings and increasing the number of bike facilities cross campus, along with monitoring the University’s development projects to ensure a student voice is represented to push for projects that benefit day-to-day campus life.

“I think with a lot of residents of this neighborhood, their issues are a lot more with the University and the administration than they are with the students themselves and I think a lot of people in the neighborhood recognize the good that students do,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy hopes to unseat decade-long commissioner David Lehrman, who said he plans to keep his post on the six-member advisory board. Commissioners each represent single-member districts, which divide the ward into smaller constituencies.

In 2010, Lehrman and the five other commissioners ran unopposed, with 60 voters casting a ballot in Kennedy’s sought-after district along the eastern side of campus and bound by Pennsylvania Avenue.

Lehrman declined to comment on the potential contender until after the Board of Elections and Ethics approves candidates in August.

A redistricting process approved by the D.C. Council in March drew up a single-member district predominantly housing students, making it likely a student would hold a seat on the commission.

Junior Jackson Carnes also filed his candidacy Monday for a commissioner post. His Potomac Park Apartments home at 510 21st Street falls in one of two newly created single-member districts, extending from Washington Circle to E Street.

According to the Board of Elections and Ethics, Carnes is running unopposed as of now.

Carnes, a Kentucky native majoring in international affairs, said he hopes to get students more involved and engaged in the community through a potential ANC internship program if elected as a commissioner.

“I think [students] can really do a lot with straddling that line between what GW wants to do and what long term residents wants to do,” Carnes said. “We need to be more on the same page.”

Carnes and Kennedy have until Aug. 8 to collect 25 signatures from residents living in their single-member districts.

The last student to land a spot on the ANC was Asher Corson, who was elected during his senior year in 2006 and still sits on the body. To run for a seat, a candidate must be a registered D.C. voter and have lived in their single-member district for at least 60 days.

Carnes and Kennedy helped co-found GW’s chapter of D.C. Students Speak – a group focused on getting students more involved in local politics. Kennedy served as president of the group and organized a voter drive in March that registered more than 75 students to vote in the District.

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