James Harnett, a senior double majoring in computer science and political science, is a commissioner for the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission representing most of the Foggy Bottom Campus.
With multiple ongoing investigations into Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, it is evident that Ward 2 needs a new leader, someone who can be a champion for working people and students.
The choice for Ward 2 is clear: Patrick Kennedy.
Kennedy understands the issues that are important to students. He has been a strong advocate for increasing student participation in government so that D.C. is truly representative and knows firsthand the power of student activism and the impact students can have on our communities.
As a GW student in 2012, Kennedy fought for D.C. statehood and was arrested, receiving a shout out from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C. Later that year, Kennedy encouraged students across the District to register to vote, run for office and apply for local boards and commissions. Thanks to his efforts, a record number of students, including himself, were elected as neighborhood commissioners.
Kennedy still serves on the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, representing a portion of campus that includes Thurston and Mitchell halls and 1959 E St. He served for four years as the commission’s chair, becoming the youngest commission chair in D.C. history at 22 years old.
As commissioner, Kennedy has been instrumental in bridging divides between students and permanent residents. When the GW Hospital proposed building a helipad, Kennedy brought students and neighbors on both sides of the issue together and worked for nearly a year to create a community agreement that would allow the helipad to be built while addressing key neighborhood concerns. His commitment to listening and securing feedback from all sectors of the community will serve the ward well.
Kennedy is particularly passionate about delivering transit improvements so students and neighbors alike can get around quickly, safely and affordably. He worked with me to successfully advocate for the creation of a bike lane in Foggy Bottom that will connect campus to Dupont Circle and the National Mall.
He also proposed traffic safety improvements at the intersection of 22nd and H streets near Gelman Library and the Science and Engineering Hall. This laid the groundwork for my efforts to improve safety on the H Street corridor that led to the crosswalk between District House and Kogan Plaza, an area of concern for so many students.
One of his top priorities is affordable housing, as he, like many students, spends a significant portion of his income on renting in Foggy Bottom. He is deeply committed to ensuring that those who choose mission-oriented work – as many students do – can stay in the District and invest in the communities they love.
Kennedy’s campaign is being fueled by community volunteers and neighbors. Many students, myself included, get involved in local and national politics, but Kennedy has paved the way for students to get involved here in the District. I am proud to support him for the D.C. Council in Ward 2 and invite other students to see what a strong and passionate leader can do for them on the Council.