Students are part of the push to unseat Evans

After about three decades of Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans representing Foggy Bottom, residents want a new face in town.

Evans has not faced an opponent since 2008. But as allegations of corruption dog his reputation and place him in the spotlight of a criminal investigation, he now faces five challengers running to get him out of office. Students might not know about Evans or the allegations against him, but he represents Foggy Bottom and has been part of talks to build a new hospital, construct a helipad and commit to renewable energy by 2032. Even if students are not registered to vote in D.C., they should care about who represents the place where they live for the majority of the year.

Legislation passed by the D.C. Council impacts student life and the University because it governs what students and officials can do to the campus. Allegations of corruption against Evans only weaken the trust between students and residents and their representatives.

Five candidates are in the race to unseat an embattled politician, and students should be part of the effort too. Students need to take an active role in the push to oust Evans so Ward 2 can be represented by someone who fights for residents and not corporate interests.

Students are politically active about democracy worldwide, so they should focus their energy on what’s going on in their own backyard. Evans has been accused of corruption and faced several investigations into his misuse of power. Over the summer, the Council removed him from his committee chairmanship and launched a probe into his business dealings after a Metro ethics board found he violated rules relating to conflicts of interest. Evans later resigned from the Metro board.

Although students may feel that the politics of D.C. and Ward 2 do not directly impact them, they need to understand that what the Council does can also impact what the University has the ability to do on its campus.

Cartoon by Jeanne Franchesca Dela Cruz

In the past few years, the Council has voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020 and ban plastic straws across the District. Transportation changes like making the Circulator free impact how students travel around the District. Housing rates for students living off campus or living in D.C. after college can be set by the Council. Councilmembers can also vote to limit or control the number of students allowed to live off campus.

Candidates looking to take Evans’ spot have a chance to give Ward 2 a fresh start, and students should help to move the needle forward. A new councilmember will change the way Ward 2 is represented and give both students and residents more trust in the person fighting for issues that affect the community.

The best way for students to take part in the race is by educating themselves on Evans and the platforms of candidates vying for his seat. Students should encourage residents to vote, educate themselves and others on the politics of the race or even join a campaign and help get a candidate’s message out by canvassing. On a group level, student organizations like the GW College Democrats or College Republicans can focus on this election instead of only preparing for the national presidential election. Both student organizations have been known to cross state lines and help candidates on the campaign trail, and there is no reason they cannot do the same in their own backyard.

Students cannot be expected to attend a Council meeting, but students should be expected to know the issues facing Ward 2 and the legislation over which the Ward 2 councilmember has influence. Although the politics of D.C. and Ward 2 may seem distant to many students, taking an active role in this upcoming election would impact the person who will next represent Ward 2.

The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Kiran Hoeffner-Shah and contributing opinions editor Hannah Thacker based on conversations with The Hatchet’s editorial board, which is composed of assistant copy editor Natalie Prieb, managing director Leah Potter, contributing design editor Olivia Columbus, sports editor Emily Maise and culture editor Sidney Lee.

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