Published on: Monday, November 13, 2017 City Council & Mayor Blog

Message from the Mayor

Kate Stewart, Mayor
Kate Stewart, Mayor

On November 15th we start the next chapter in our City’s history. We have three new Councilmembers, and for only the second time in the history of our City, we have a majority of women serving — Cindy Dyballa for Ward 2, Kacy Kostiuk for Ward 3, Talisha Searcy for Ward 6, and myself. The City will also benefit from the experience of returning Councilmembers Kovar, Smith, and Seamens.

This City Council will be in office for three years. The timing of the city elections was changed to be in synch with state and federal elections. Our next election will be in 2020. At that time, Councilmembers’ terms will return to two-year terms.

The next three years will be an exciting time in our City. The new Council will face both challenges and opportunities. We have the arrival of the Purple line, increased growth in population in the region, and the need to continue to provide affordable and quality housing. The next Council will need to decide what policies to establish to mitigate some of the impacts on residents and current businesses while also ensuring the City and residents benefit from the changes.

The incoming Council will build on the work of past Councils and immediately get to work on the library renovation, the Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan, Takoma Junction redevelopment, as well as implementing our racial equity framework. Many of us, along with City staff, will be attending an all day racial equity training on December 1st as we continue to look for ways to develop policies, practices, and create investments in our community to reverse racial disparities.

Given what is happening at the national level, we will continue to stand up for our values and resist those focused on spreading hate and bigotry and dismantling protections to our environment, health, and safety. We will defend our status as a Sanctuary City and continue to be a welcoming and inclusive community for all residents. We will remain committed to environmental sustainability and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement #WeAreStillIn.

Our City has a long-track record of protecting our most vulnerable and assisting those in need. We will continue to build upon that foundation to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to succeed and live with dignity.

When people are empowered, our community thrives. This means ensuring a range of safe, quality, and stable housing options for residents of varying incomes and making sure youth and family programing needs are met, especially for our more vulnerable residents.

The hiring of a new police chief in the upcoming months presents an opportunity to evaluate policing in our community, enhance police and community relations, look for new and innovative ways to police, and build on the Unity in the Community initiative.

I am very fortunate to serve our City and excited about starting the work with my colleagues. We have an amazing community of engaged residents, dedicated and hardworking staff, and many opportunities to improve our community for all residents.

This fall we had very active campaigns across the City. I want to thank everyone who ran for election this year: Thank you for being brave enough to step forward, to put yourselves and your families out there for our City, for helping energize members of our community and stimulate discussion of issues and concerns.

Now, together, as a Council and a community, we turn to the work at hand. Our first substantive Council meeting is November 29, where we dive right into hearing from the City’s auditor and actuary. But first, the inauguration of the incoming Council and thanks to the outgoing Councilmembers is this Wednesday at 7:30 pm, with a reception following. Please join us!