Member Statements on 2023-EER3: Resolution to Endorse Janeese Lewis George for Ward 4 Councilmember

Statements from chapter members in favor and against 2023-EER3: Resolution to Endorse Janeese Lewis George for Ward 4 Councilmember will be posted in this thread.

IN FAVOR by Dieter L.M.

My name is Dieter Lehmann Morales (he/him), and I am rising in support of EER3: Resolution to Endorse Janeese Lewis George for Ward 4 Councilmember. As a former two-term member of the Steering Committee, a former Political Engagement Committee member, a current two-term Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, and a member of the Washington Teachers Union, I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support re-endorsing Councilmember Janeese Lewis George. She is hands-down the best legislator that we have on DC Council and has been a stalwart ally of the working class in the District. But more than that, she is an open socialist and a proud DSA member. Having CM Lewis George on the Council for another four years is critical if we are to stop harmful legislation like the Crimnibus, and want to pass transformative legislation like the Green New Deal for Social Housing.

IN FAVOR by Tim S.

I’m writing in support of re-endorsing Janeese Lewis George, because she has been a great elected: she’s pushed the policies we care about even when they’re unpopular, taken principled votes, and used the bully pulpit the office provides effectively, and in ways closely aligned with things we care about. She’s led on housing policy, pushing legislation that protects tenants in a variety of ways and moving us towards social housing, while also directly supporting tenant unionization efforts, on public safety, focusing on programs that can sustainably move people away from crime and towards better options, rather than investing in policing, and on getting resources to poor households, through the successful UBI-style pilot program she championed, along with her recent advocacy for local SNAP programs. She’s also led on labor issues, especially Initiative 82, where she supported the initiative itself and then continued to lead on preventing the council from undermining it. This race is eminently winnable, but with the amount of money the Green Team, crime neurotics, and developers are going to spend against Janeese, we need to show up very hard with the resource they don’t have: working class people who actually believe in something. We did that in 2020 and we can do it again, not only because it will get us real legislative wins and gets our approach to policy and politics into the public conversation, but because it strengthens the chapter in really important ways. Please join me in voting to re-endorse Janeese Lewis George!

IN FAVOR by Stephanie B.

Janeese Lewis George has been my councilmember for the past three years, and in addition to being a huge improvement over Brandon Todd in terms of constituent services, Janeese is a true comrade. Instead of laughing in my face at tenant events, as her predecessor did, Janeese has been an active participant in Stomp Out Slumlords events. Her office did a huge number of STAY DC applications, and coordinated with tenant associations to hold events at the buildings. Janeese personally called landlords to get them to meet tenant demands, and she’s both worked with and pressured the Attorney General’s office to act in suits brought at buildings organized with SOS. And, her Green New Deal for Social Housing is a huge leap forward in terms of imagining truly affordable, secure, accessible, beautiful, and tenant-controlled housing in a city that has needed it for decades. I strongly urge you to vote in favor of endorsing Janeese in the Ward 4 race.

IN FAVOR by Sam R.

I support re-endorsement of Janeese Lewis George in DC’s Ward 4. As a Ward 4 resident, I’ve seen the great work that Janeese has done both within our community and for the city, more generally. Plus, she rang my doorbell because I have a DSA flag outside! Janeese has been a steadfast supporter of many of MDC’s policy initiatives in the district, and has fought for affordable housing, expanded healthcare, and was an ardent supporter of our work around I82. She is in close contact with MDC and has worked with our members to craft legislation. We agonize a lot about our relationships with socialists in office in DSA, and Janeese’s office is one of the more exemplary on this front. She is a DSA member, has DSA staffers, and consults with the org on her policy priorities. I’m grateful that she is my councilwoman and look forward to supporting her in her re-election campaign.

IN FAVOR by Rohin G.

By carrying housing justice legislation such as the Social Housing bill and using her office to support tenant organizing efforts outside of it’s legislative role, including campaigns by SOS, Janeese has proven herself to be an accountable voice for the tenants movement in DC. As a tenant organizer, I have seen how she uses her role to support growing tenant militancy. As an ANC in ward 3 I can see how council members use or don’t use their non legislative powers. Janeese thinks outside the box and uses her office in a way which builds power for our movement in a way that is incredibly unique and important. Further, Janeese’s participation in and support for DSA led campaigns including for Initiative 82 demonstrates her close relationship with our chapter and the workers movement we stand for. Janeese shows up with us and listens to us, and that is an essential piece of our power. Finally, I know that there is widespread excitement among our chapter’s members, including many AU YDSA members, to put in the work it will take for Janeese to win.

IN FAVOR by Rob W.

In my 13 years of active political life in DC, we have never had a councilmember like Janeese Lewis-George. She has been a tireless fighter for tenants rights and have successfully passed policies that protect renters from evictions, extreme rent hikes, and slum conditions. She has championed expansion of food and income assistance for the poor and taken courageous and lonely stands against police and prosecutorial overreach when other progressives (and even self-described socialists) caved in. She has fought the good fight and won. But beyond having an admirable set of policy positions, Janeese’s style makes her unique. She’s been unafraid to call out her colleagues when they betray their constituents and confront the representatives of the local ruling class rather than compromising. When tenants in her ward protest and strike, she encourages and supports them rather than trying to get them to unilaterally disarm work through traditional legal and institutional channels When the hotel workers union wanted an elected official to members preparing for a strike-readiness campaign, they called Janeese. Now the worst people in the District are fixated on removing her from office, and if they succeed, it will be open season on all the causes she has championed. Janeese has had our back, now it’s time to have hers and stop a frightening rightwing turn in local politics.

IN FAVOR by Carl R.

I strongly urge the chapter to re-endorse Janeese Lewis George. While plenty of my thinking is already present in the PEC’s recommendation, I believe it’s important to state my support again here: she has been a wonderful elected for us in one of the most important ways, and that’s always being willing to engage with us. I will personally never forget the night in May 2022 when, in front of the Supreme Court, Councilmember Lewis George told the very large crowd to join her in the fight for reproductive freedom by joining DSA. That, to me, was a defining moment. I also think Janeese has governed quite effectively; without a majority, she has managed to push the council to the left, and has been the only voice willing to speak out when others on the council are unwilling to live up to their values. She has definitely taken some tough votes, but she has always done so with an eye to getting what’s possible- and moving that window left.

I assume it’s quite lonely taking votes that are right by yourself; I think we should show the Councilmember she’s not alone, that she has a movement behind her, and re-endorse.

IN FAVOR by Michael M.

I’m writing in support of re-endorsing Janeese Lewis George, because she’s been an exceptional DSA elected and has earned our support in many ways during her first term. She’s pushed for policies codifying tenant protections while also directly supporting tenant unionization. She’s often led with conviction on public safety by addressing the root causes of crime through ensuring communities are better resourced rather than defaulting to carceral solutions — such as strengthening social services, pushing for local SNAP programs, expanding affordable housing etc. She’s also been a strong advocate on the council for Initiative 82, having supported the initiative itself and then fighting to prevent the council from diluting it. We need to come out with unwavering support for Janeese as a chapter, not only because she’s been a real champion for working class Ward 4 residents, but because it is incumbent upon us to demonstrate solidarity with electeds who prove they align with our values even when it’s politically lonely or risky. Janeese has often been the lone vote on the council (e.g. voting against the emergency crime bill over the summer) because she knows it’s the right thing to do. We need to show her that her bravery on the council results in our chapter knocking tens of thousands of doors to get her re-elected. I urge you to vote IN FAVOR of re-endorsing Janeese Lewis George.

IN FAVOR by Stu K.

I’ll be voting YES to endorse fellow Metro DC DSA member and Councilmember Janeese Lewis George in her run for reelection to the DC Council’s Ward 4 seat. I urge Metro DC DSA members to do the same.

Over the past seven years as a member of Metro DC DSA, I’ve served four terms on our chapter’s steering committee, one term as the steering committee chair, and established the chapter’s political engagement committee. Since Councilmember Lewis George was first elected (and endorsed) by Metro DC DSA in 2020, I’ve seen first-hand how she has stood with our chapter in fighting for the DC region’s working-class.

To list off a just a few examples, Lewis George has led the charge to pass taxes on DC’s wealthiest residents; coordinated with our chapter’s Stomp Out Slumlords working group to delivery vital Stay DC rental assistance during the height of the COVID pandemic; introduced pending legislation to make it harder for the most dangerous DC slumlords to receive business licenses; and—just this past week—put forth a council bill amendment to ensure that 100% of restaurant service charges go toward workers’ tips.

In short, the working class of the DC has experienced real, material benefits due to Councilmember Lewis George’s time on the DC Council. I look forward to endorsing Lewis George for another term.

IN FAVOR by Irene K.

As a longtime electoral organizer in our chapter and current member of the National Electoral Committee Steering Committee, I want to emphasize how exceptional Janeese Lewis George has been as a DSA elected and how important it is for us to defend her seat.

Our chapter has a strong membership base in Ward 4, and our previous efforts in 2020 prove that Janeese is a candidate who truly inspires and mobilizes our members to dedicate their time to her campaign week after week. Importantly, the past four years have also shown that she is not a candidate who is only interested in volunteer support up to Election Day. During her first race, Janeese worked closely with our chapter electoral leaders, involving us in her core team and campaign strategy decision-making, collaborating with us on field, and seeking our input on a number of policy issues important to members of the chapter (among them, rent control and defunding MPD). This level of genuine engagement with DSA has continued since her election.

Janeese has consistently partnered with Stomp Out Slumlords to support DC tenants across the city (e.g., helping DC residents receive STAY DC rent and utility assistance during the pandemic and showing up to rallies to protest slum-like conditions, cancel rent, fight against landlord intimidation, and advocate for expanded rent control); publicly advocated for Initiative 82 and introduced legislation since its passage to combat misleading service charges; spoke at our Care, Not Cops rally; spoke powerfully for reproductive justice and the right to abortion at the chapter-organized rapid-response action in front of the Supreme Court; signed the We Power DC public power pledge; and engaged with DSA electeds from across the country. She has joined workers on countless picket lines and publicly supported unionization drives, championed expanded SNAP assistance for more than 130,000 DC residents and relief for previously excluded undocumented immigrants, introduced a transformative Green New Deal for Social Housing, and taken courageous and lonely votes on policing that have made her an explicit target of the crime panic–fueled backlash against progressives on the council.

Because of her stances and legislative achievements, Janeese is once again being targeted by conservative dark money (as she was by Democrats for Education Reform in 2020)—but people power beat them before and can defeat them again. Janeese exemplifies what it means to be a principled, socialist movement candidate who fights for the working class, and I encourage everyone in the chapter to vote yes on her re-endorsement.

IN FAVOR by Ben D.

I’m writing to strongly support the Metro DC DSA endorsing Janeese Lewis George for DC Council. The councilmember’s win in 2020 was a massive success for the chapter that has done as much as any other to build our power in the District and the region. Since that time, Councilmember Lewis George has been a tribune of the people, representing Metro DC DSA as a member with aplomb. She has fought for workers every day and won massive victories that have improved the lives of thousands. She has fought against the encroaching reactionary tide in the District, and taken many lonely votes under massive pressure. She has not caved. This is a race we can win and need to win. A loss would be devastating to the working class in the District. The size, demographics, and win number in the District are such that DSA can play a massive role in this race. Our resources can be the difference between victory and defeat. When comrades like the Councilmember win and stand strong for us, taking votes that cause the establishment to put a target on their back, it’s our responsibility to stand strong for them. Metro DC DSA needs to show people across the region that you can stand for justice and for democratic socialism and still defeat the forces of capital. I urge members to vote Yes on endorsement.

IN FAVOR by Aparna R.

Hi everyone, I am writing strongly in favor of endorsing Janeese Lewis George. Having Janeese on the DC Council has been huge for working people and we need to defend her seat from conservatives trying to oust her.

Janeese has championed bold policy that has already made a material impact on people’s lives, she has shown a commitment to workers and tenants over corporations and landlords, and she has expanded what’s possible in DC. This includes:

  • Championing a tax on the wealthiest DC residents to fund direct cash assistance for child care workers and housing vouchers to bring people out of homelessness
  • Proposing a Green New Deal for Social Housing in DC that address the environmental injustice of lead buildings in Black and brown neighborhoods in DC and creates a new vision of tenant-controlled housing in the District
  • Closing a loophole in the minimum wage law by now requiring that employers who rotate employees across different states must pay those employees at least the DC minimum wage if the employee works at least 2 hours in the District
  • Bringing down a proposed 9% rent increase on rent-controlled apartments to 6% and 4% for seniors
  • Defending Initiative 82 from attempts to water it down in the Council, including with amendments to McDuffie’s restaurant relief bill
  • Expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to give more money for food assistance directly to low income seniors and families in DC

In addition, Janeese has demonstrated her willingness to cogovern with our chapter and her support and commitment to DSA as a whole:

  • During the Initiative 82 campaign to raise the tipped minimum wage in DC, Janeese worked with us to record a video for our Instagram talking about her support for the Initiative and encouraging people to vote for it. She also came to our election night party to congratulate us on our hard work and talk about how much more needs to be done.
  • She was one of the hosts for the first-ever DSA Fund Conference for DSA-endorsed electeds across the country. Around 60 state and local elected officials around the country came to DC for a conference to build relationships across jurisdictions and discuss policy and organizing strategy. Janeese gave the welcome speech for the conference, embracing her view of sewer socialism, and was one of the panelists on a panel about tenant organizing, alongside Kendra Brooks of Philly, Megan Green of St Louis, and Anthony Quezada of Cook County.
  • When STAY DC rental relief applications came out, Janeese’s office worked closely with Stomp Out Slumlords organizers to post up in buildings and work through the applications with tenants in Ward 4. She also came to a rally we had at a building where tenants have been facing bad living conditions, and when management tried to drown the tenants out, she got them to back down and then toured the property with the tenants.

Janeese has been a staunch ally of ours and a champion of the working class in DC. In recent years, we’ve seen the Council move to the left, but in response we’ve also seen concerted efforts by the Green Team to keep ousting progressives. This worked against Elissa Silverman in 2022 and led to a very split vote in the Ward 1 race with Brianne Nadeau. As a socialist, Janeese has a huge target on her back and Bowser and her friends are going to try everything to oust her. We need to have her back and support her reelection.