Notes from Vincent Gray’s Ward 1 Town Hall Meeting

Crowd at Gray's Ward 1 town hall meeting

Last night’s Ward 1 town hall meeting with Vince Gray was packed, to say the least. Not only was the auditorium of the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School (1100 Harvard St., NW) packed, but there was an overflow space on the second floor and people in the lobby that didn’t even attempt to get in.

After a generous introduction by Councilmember Jim Graham, Gray kicked off his meeting by focusing on education, jobs, and the homeless before he opened the floor to questions.

Regarding the Districts schools, Gray stated emphatically that he believes in continuing education reform. Among his goals is to bring greater parity to education so that the quality of education a child receives is essentially the same whether they attend a public school or charter school. He also strongly advocated for the return of more vocational education within the public school system. He believes that for students that don’t want to go to college, or who intend to wait a year or two before attending college, vocational training is essential to having lower unemployment and a better skilled workforce.

Among the early questions asked once the floor was opened up was what Gray intended to do regarding the Bruce-Monroe school.  This was from the core group of Bruce-Monroe advocates that have continued to keep this issue in the forefront. Gray’s responded that he is aware of the issue and that at present there is $21 Million assigned to the Park View school. He also believes that the area doesn’t need two schools. Going forward, he stated that he will continue to work with Councilmember Graham to determine the best solution to the Bruce-Monroe issue and will then work to get that accomplished.

When asked about the city’s summer jobs program, Gray responded off the bat that first and foremost those in the program should be given real work. He also said that the experience should be like any other work environment where the youth learn how to do a job and work with others.

It was interesting to note that Gray supported the continuation of the streetcar and convention hotel projects when it was suggested that they might be areas to cut to help the District balance its budget. Gray made it clear that these projects were investments in the city’s economic future and part of the capital budget, thereby not freeing up any real money in the short-term. The streetcar, for example, has a $1.5 billion capital budget over 20 years.

Overall, the impression that Gray made was one of supporting education, District statehood, and fiscal responsibility in the District government. There weren’t any real surprises in how he answered participant’s questions or where he stands on issues. The only thing left is to observe how he does in January.


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One Comment on “Notes from Vincent Gray’s Ward 1 Town Hall Meeting”

  1. […] is particularly important to Park View and anyone interested in the Park View School. At Vincent Gray’s Ward 1 Town Hall meeting, Gray stated that he believed our community could only support one school which could create an […]

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