Mayor calls on federal government to ‘leave us alone’ in address

Media Credit: File photo by Jack Borowiak | Hatchet Photographer

Mayor Muriel Bowser won her re-election bid Tuesday night with about 80 percent of the vote.

Mayor Muriel Bowser delivered her third State of the District Address Thursday, targeting the federal government and reviewing successes from the past year.

Bowser spoke to a crowd of hundreds of people at the University of the District of Columbia Theater of the Arts where she laid out her goals for the year, including adding programs that would grow businesses and recruiting more officers for the Metropolitan Police Department.

The mayor also said her administration worked to make sure all patrol police officers are outfitted with body cameras and to increase funding for housing.

“I’m pleased to tell you we have accomplished many things together,” Bowser said. “All of our victories did not happen overnight that’s why we pushed so hard to protect our prosperity.”

Couldn’t get a seat to the event? Here’s what else Bowser had to say.

1. Loosening federal control

Bowser opened up her speech by addressing the federal government’s involvement in D.C. affairs citing recent legislation that at least tried to interfere with laws on topics like marijuana and assisted suicide legislation.

“When our friends up on the Hill from Utah and Maryland’s eastern shore tell you that they are concerned about D.C., you tell them to mind their federal obligations with the District,” Bowser said.

The mayor repeatedly told the audience that the federal government needed to “keep their hands off D.C.,” and if they could not fix D.C.’s problems, then they should not get involved.

“If the Congress can’t help us with our priorities the best thing they could do for us is leave us alone,” Bowser said to applause.

2. Making D.C. safer

The mayor touted her public safety successes by referencing a decreasing crime rate last year, highlighting a 10 percent reduction in violent crimes and a 17 percent decrease in homicides.

“Last year after a spike in homicides in 2015, I told you we would drive down crime with safer, stronger D.C. initiatives, and we did,” Bowser said. “Many big cities can’t say the same.”

The mayor also said her administration is making D.C. safer by making sure emergency services is adding more ambulances, further training first responders and ensuring 911 dispatch is working properly.

“For the first time we are getting the right resources to the scene, and we are dispatching those resources more quickly,” she said.

3. Improving transportation and roads

Since the D.C. Streetcar reopened last year, Bowser said it has been successful, with 93,000 passengers traveling by streetcar last month.

“In the next few weeks we expect it to carry its one millionth passenger,” Bowser said.

The mayor also said her administration plans to fund fixing all of the District roads with poor ratings in five years. Bowser pointed to programs like AlleyPalooza as to why roads have improved in the city so far.

“We will separate streets and sidewalks per project where it makes sense and will commit to use sustainable building materials and practices,” Bowser said.

Bowser added she has plans to not only focus on rebuilding roads but also add more bike lanes and extend trails like the Anacostia River Trail.

“Make no mistake. We’re going to fix the roads,” Bowser said. “But we’re also committed to a balanced transportation network.”

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