Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans officially announced his candidacy for mayor Saturday in a speech that emphasized the diversity of the city and its need for continued growth.
In front of about 100 supporters outside a newly opened restaurant on the recently developed 14th Street, Evans pledged to support the city’s different populations and small businesses by implementing a school-to-career pathway program to create jobs in key industries.
Evans said in a phone interview last week that his campaign will also focus on restructuring the education system, which has been marked by a growth of charter schools in recent years, leading to school closures and mergers across the city. He also emphasized job growth, especially in D.C.’s low-income neighborhoods.
“People in many parts of the city have jobs, many don’t. Creation of jobs and creating an educational structure that educates our residents for the jobs that exist is really important,” he said.
Evans, who is not originally from the District, referred to the city as a “tapestry,” and first discussed the accomplishments of African Americans, the city’s largest racial group. If elected, Evans will be the city’s first white mayor since Congress gave the city home rule in 1973.
Evans, the city’s longest-serving council member and a Democrat, was first elected in 1991, and ran unopposed for his seat last fall. He could have difficulty garnering support outside of his own ward, especially when Muriel Bowser, a council member also running for mayor, represents Ward 4, the part of the city most dense with voters.
Evans said gathering supporters outside Wards 2 and 3 could be difficult, but was confident that his many years of experience would help.
“Having been around 22 years, people know who I am and think I’m doing a good job,” he said.
Ward 6 D.C. Council member Tommy Wells also announced his mayoral bid last month. Incumbent Vincent Gray has not yet announced whether he will run, but he hinted he may run when he criticized Bowser’s campaign in April.
Junior Daniel Egel-Weiss, an Evans supporter, said his efforts to develop parts of the city, such as Chinatown, would help attract support.
“He built the Verizon Center, and then that whole area, it just exploded right after that,” he said. “He’s just been great in revitalizing a lot of neighborhoods in the District.”
This post was updated Sunday, June 9 at 1:06 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet reported that Evans would be D.C. first white male. In fact, he would be the first white male since Congress gave the city home rule.