A recent graduate of a D.C.-area university wants to join the Foggy Bottom’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission as a way to jumpstart his political career.
Marco Guzman, who received a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University last year, has set his sights on a seat on the ANC as a commissioner for a district that covers parts of GW’s campus, the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and the National Mall. If elected, he said he would increase communication between neighbors and the ANC and make sure GW stays true to its policies of not expanding into the neighborhood.
“I understand how important GW is to Foggy Bottom – and Washington, D.C. – so I see no reason why the relationship between the school and the neighborhood cannot be a productive one,” Guzman said.
Guzman, a 29-year-old editing assistant at weekly tax publication Tax Analysts, came to D.C. for his graduate studies and has lived by the intersection of 25th and K streets for three years. He said he grew up in places like Alaska, Germany and New Mexico because his dad served in the Air Force, but he chose D.C. as his place to settle and start a career in politics.
Guzman graduated from Arizona State University in 2012 with a degree in human communication and a minor in political science. He said he was motivated to move to D.C. to break into politics.
“I’d like to be a leader in a community,” Guzman said. “I think it’s really important to give back, so that’s really kind of where I’m starting with this ANC campaign.”
Guzman is in the running for the only contested ANC seat on the commission this year. His opponent, Matthew Chwastek, is an electrician who has lived in Foggy Bottom’s historic district for two years.
Guzman said he wants to continue the strong relationship between GW and the ANC. He said GW’s interaction with the neighborhood is “adequate,” and he added that University officials have usually sought the community’s input on its 2007 campus plan.
The campus plan is an agreement between the University and the District outlining how the University plans construction projects and capping the number of students GW can have on its Foggy Bottom campus at a time. The plan imposes an enrollment cap for on-campus students of about 16,000 people, a number that administrators have called for the city to lift.
Part of the plan stipulates that GW will build taller buildings instead of expanding outside of its current footprint. Guzman said he would make sure GW adheres to that agreement.
“A key goal of mine will be to make sure GW remains aware of and up to date on the ways in which their actions affect the broader community,” he said.
Patrick Kennedy, the chair of the Foggy Bottom ANC, called Guzman sharp and studious and added that he would bring “a valuable diversity” to the commission. Kennedy said that it’s general practice for commissioners to not take sides in contested races.
“I think in this neighborhood there’s a general predilection on the commission to stay out of most contested races, and sort of let them play out and let voters make up their own minds,” he said. “I see two very good candidates, and I see two candidates where I hope the one that does not win becomes involved in some greater level in the community, regardless.”
Colleen Grablick contributed reporting.