The follow piece is printed in the current edition of The Washington Blade.
On Tuesday, many of us in the District will go to the polls to vote for a candidate in the At-Large race for City Council. There are nine candidates vying for this seat. Several are actually decent candidates.
However, I would like to point out a few reason why you should vote for Patrick Mara on Tuesday, fiscal responsibility being at the top of that list. Mara would seek a top-to-bottom review of all city contracts and spending. Mara will scrub contracts for fraud and abuse, and demand performance. In doing so, he would cut waste, while fully funding education, law enforcement and public safety.
D.C. has a $320 million budget deficit for the coming fiscal year. There have been talks of tax increases, additional user fees and other revenue raisers. Sekou Biddle, the current interim Council member has flip-flopped on the issue of raising taxes. Mara wants to trim government spending by reforming many of the District agencies that are bloated and inefficient.
Recent events have shown that the Council needs a watchdog looking out for taxpayers. Patrick Mara will provide that oversight. Between fully loaded taxpayer-leased vehicles, unaccountable non-profits run by Council members, and questionable hiring practices, it is clear that the one-party rule over at the Wilson Building is not good for the citizens of the District.
Mara would be a fresh and independent voice on the Council. He would help set an example by behaving responsibly and ethically. With these strings of ethically challenged issues plaguing various members of the Council and the mayor’s office, now is the time for a fresh approach; someone who is not beholden to the current crop of city leaders. Biddle has been endorsed by half of the Council – including Mayor Gray and Chairman Brown, which would undoubtedly lead to his continuing the status quo.
As a moderate Republican who is fiscally conservative and socially progressive, Patrick would bring common sense to city hall.
Last week, when the Washington Post endorsed Mara, it said in part, “Mara would use his standing as a Republican to lobby for congressional representation and budget autonomy for Washington.” It went on to say that he doesn’t change his positions to “please the interests of the audience he’s addressing.”
In addition to the Post, not only has Mara been endorsed by the D.C. chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, but also by the local Fraternal Order of Police who say that he would be a “voice on the Council that is committed to public safety.”
With the current makeup of Congress being split, we will need someone on the Council who is willing to meet with the Republican leadership and show them why it is best to leave D.C. alone. Getting oneself arrested in support of D.C. rights and local autonomy may show passion and conviction, but it does not show effectiveness.
It will be useful in engaging with a GOP-led House to have a vocal GOP advocate on the Council. And after the last minute budget shenanigans on the Hill, it is more important now than ever. Last year, Mara, along with D.C. GOP Chairman Bob Kabel went up to the Hill to lobby against overturning D.C.’s marriage law.
Speaking of marriage, Mara is a proven friend to the LGBT community. Not only has he marched in several Capital Pride parades, but he is the ONLY candidate on the ballot Tuesday who actually testified before the Council in support of bringing marriage equality to the District. While others have talked about their commitment to our community, and some have “evolved on our issues,” he has shown it. Patrick Mara has been there for us. Now let’s be there for him.