Updated: Wednesday, June 26 at 4:23 p.m.
About half of Patrick Kennedy’s fellow Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners representing parts of Ward 2 have endorsed him in his bid to replace Jack Evans on the D.C. Council.
Seventeen of the 37 ANC commissioners in Ward 2 – excluding Kennedy, who represents Foggy Bottom – are throwing their support behind the local politician, citing his progressive policies and his ability to consider all sides of a situation when making decisions on behalf of the community, according to a campaign release. Kennedy is the first of four candidates challenging Evans in the June 2020 Democratic primary to release a list of endorsers.
“I’m honored to have the support of so many community leaders who believe in our message and vision for the future of Ward 2,” Kennedy said in the release. “Ours is a grassroots coalition of change, and I am committed to fighting for our neighborhoods and delivering results.”
Kennedy is among the first slate of candidates to challenge Evans for his seat in more than a decade. Evans is under federal criminal investigation for misusing his position on the Council to attract business for his consulting firm.
James Harnett, a Foggy Bottom ANC commissioner and a rising senior, said Kennedy has the skills and community connections to beat Evans in the election.
“I think at the end of the day, we need to nominate somebody as the challenger to Jack Evans who has a history with the community, has a history of working together to bring projects and initiatives and infrastructure projects to their completion while also addressing community concerns,” he said.
Harnett added that Kennedy has pushed for progressive policies, like lowering the voting age and building more transportation infrastructure, during his tenure as a neighborhood politician.
“I think he’s a progressive champion and somebody who’s consistently fought for what’s right and fought for voter rights at 16, has fought for the paid family leave bill when that came up in 2014, has fought for safer infrastructure – whether that’s dedicated bus lanes, protected bike lanes,” Harnett said.
Joe Gibbons, an ANC commissioner representing Georgetown, said he also supports Kennedy’s positions on transportation policy, like bike safety. Kennedy drafted an ANC resolution last month calling on the District Department of Transportation to close the 1700 block of Virginia Avenue and make the block available exclusively to pedestrians.
He said Kennedy will be a “breath of fresh air in the right direction” for the D.C. community.
“This is a man who’s dedicated his life to public service and not to dollars, not to a salary,” Gibbons said. “I want him to show that because he needs to bring back and show why we serve.”
Daniel Warwick, an ANC commissioner representing Dupont Circle, said he admired Kennedy’s approach to discussions over a protected bike lane that will run through campus set to be built by 2022. He said that after DDOT officials proposed building the bike lane on 21st or 22nd streets, Kennedy recommended a third option running on 20th Street, which is now DDOT’s preferred route.
He added that Kennedy’s 17 ANC endorsements demonstrate “his ability to work with community leaders.”
“What sets Patrick apart from the other people running for Ward 2 is his impeccable integrity and ethical standards, and it’s something that’s really important,” Warwick said. “In D.C., we only have 16 paid elected officials – it’s important we have really good quality and ethical elected officials, and Patrick is that.”
Jeri Epstein, a West End commissioner elected in November, said she supports Kennedy because he is “well-spoken and well-prepared.”
“I’m just impressed with his commitment to getting information, putting it into context with the District,” she said. “He’s a very intelligent person who puts the issue, the political climate, the needs of the citizens together and he comes up with a very cogent point of view.”