Member Statements on ER9: Endorse Zachary Parker for District of Columbia Council, Ward 5

Statements from chapter members in favor and against Resolution ER9: Endorse Zachary Parker for District of Columbia Council, Ward 5 will be posted in this thread.

Statements will be accepted as they are received, until the deadline of 8:00 pm ET on Sunday, December 12, 2021.

Statement from Yvonne S - IN FAVOR - regarding Resolution ER9: Endorse Zachary Parker


I’ve been a Metro DC DSA member since 2017, a tenant organizer with Stomp Out Slumlords (on hiatus currently because I had a baby, and it’s a wild ride, for those of you considering it), and a Ward 5 resident.

I’m supporting our chapter’s endorsement of Zachary Parker both because of his positions on issues like housing and because he has a real chance to win in Ward 5. In all the meet and greets for Ward 5 candidates that I’ve attended, Zachary was the only candidate to lead with tenants’ issues, even in the home-owner-dominated area of North Michigan Park where I live. He supports protecting and expanding rent control and creating eviction diversion programs.

Zachary is also the only candidate who has committed to developing alternative, actually-affordable housing models like community land trusts, social housing, and limited equity co-ops. I believe Zachary will work with us to move toward making housing a right in the District. I also think we should endorse Zachary because he can win in Ward 5, which, in my experience, is both rapidly gentrifying and quite conservative. As a current communications person for a local union and as the Communications Director of Emily Gasoi’s MDC DSA-endorsed, winning DC Board of Education race, I have been really impressed with Zachary’s campaign’s messaging, presence, and strategy. His campaign has managed to hone a unifying message that puts many socialist priorities in terms that invite new audiences, without watering the priorities down.

Moreover, I see his team canvassing and putting up yard signs all over the Ward, with 6 months left to go in this race. Therefore, I believe we have a real shot at putting Zachary in the Ward 5 seat.

In solidarity,
Yvonne S.
Metro DC DSA member since 2017

Statement from Ed L - IN FAVOR - regarding Resolution ER9: Endorse Zachary Parker

Dear Metro DC DSA comrades,

I am excited to support Zachary Parker’s endorsement for the Ward 5 DC Council seat.

With Zachary, we have a great chance to strengthen the base on the DC Council that champions Democratic Socialist values. As the MDCDSA-endorsed candidate for the at-large DC Council seat in 2020, I understand the great impact that this endorsement can make. I have known Zachary since endorsing his race for State Board of Education in 2018. I am impressed by his commitment to equity, his genuine desire to connect with and help people, his principled approach to public policy, his energy, and his strategic skills.

I also have seen that Zachary seeks input and constructive feedback extremely well – listening carefully and incorporating advice without defensiveness. I think that trait will enable MDC DSA to work closely with Zachary during his campaign and as an elected member of the DC Council. Zachary has taken bold positions on the State Board of Education to promote equity in our school system. He lead an SBOE effort to oppose the closing of Washington Metropolitan school, worked to shape the school rating system to focus more on school climate than on test scores – and to abolish the star rating system that reinforces inequity – and stood with teachers to oppose Mayor Bowser’s plan to reopen schools before a vaccine was approved.

I know that Zachary will take similarly bold and principled positions to fight for Democratic Socialist policies on the DC Council. He has embraced the Defund MPD goals to reduce policing in DC – including reducing the size of the police force – and shifting to a community investment approach to public safety. Rather than hiding from this issue on the campaign trail, Zachary has worked to communicate with reluctant voters that the current police-centered approach is not keeping us safe, that it is in fact harming Black and brown residents, and that addressing the oppression in Black and brown communities is the path to community safety.

Zachary also will be a champion for an assertive housing policy that puts tenants first and that fights to stop displacement. He fully supports the Reclaim Rent Control platform, has opposed closing tent encampments and the dissolution of eviction prevention assistance. He stresses the need for deeply affordable housing, and he understands and champions important social housing models like community land trusts.

The Ward 5 primary is a critically important race. The other leading candidates include the former Chamber of Commerce head and an ally of Mayor Bowser. Endorsements will matter, especially those that can bring a large volunteer base. An MDC DSA endorsement of Zachary Parker will signal that he is the preferred candidate among equity-focused residents.

In solidarity,
Ed Lazere
Metro DC DSA member since 2019

Statement from Nathan L - IN FAVOR - regarding Resolution ER9: Endorse Zachary Parker


I am a Metro DC DSA member, a delegate for 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East, and a Ward 5 resident. I’ve organized politically with both our DSA chapter and with my union as part of the Metro Washington Labor Council. While my union is still going through the endorsement process, I am supporting our chapter’s endorsement of Zachary Parker.

Zachary has demonstrated a commitment to organized labor and advancing worker power – core values of our chapter. Zachary will continue to organize with DC workers if elected as our new Ward 5 Councilmember. As President of the DC State Board of Education (SBOE), Zachary stood alongside the Washington Teachers Union and members of 1199 SEIU by rallying the SBOE to an unprecedented, unanimous objection to the closing of Washington Metropolitan High School. Zachary also stood in support of WTU members who fought the unsafe, premature reopening of DCPS school buildings during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Moreover, as SBOE President, Zachary has fought to improve teacher retention in the District, which is one of WTU’s main goals. Zachary has previously won WTU’s endorsement and hopes to do so again.

While Zachary is most connected to school-based organized labor, he is committed to workers across the District. Zachary supports broad, pro-labor initiatives including: increased public project labor agreements, labor peace agreements, and ensuring that all public construction projects require union labor. Zachary will advance new organizing in DC, most notably by supporting the unionization efforts of charter school employees. Zachary supports initiatives for higher wages, including the upcoming Initiative 82, which aims to raise the minimum wage to full parity with non-tipped workers.

I believe Zachary will be a strong, pro-union, pro-labor, candidate who will strengthen workers rights as our new Ward 5 councilmember.

In solidarity,
Nathan L
Metro DC DSA member since 2017

Statement from Stu K - IN FAVOR - regarding Resolution ER9: Endorse Zachary Parker

I’m in favor of Zachary’s endorsement. In the autumn of 2020, our chapter showed that we could endorse in MoCo and in DC and still put up numbers (20k calls from mostly MoCo members, 35k calls from mostly DC members). Electing Zachary to the DC Council would also replace a business-friendly corporate democrat with a DSA member.

Also, with Janeese Lewis George already on the DC council, we would increase the density of DSA members on the council to one of the highest (or even the highest) percentage of members elected to any legislative body in the country. Even with only Janeese Lewis George on the council, we’ve already seen a leftward shift of the council’s politics, as this past year, councilmembers just voted to raise taxes on the wealthy–despite Mayor Bowser’s opposition.

Zachary will need on-the-ground support though, and our chapter can be a deeply involved partner that provides that support. Our canvassing, comms, and policy capacities are unmatched in DC. Zachary recognizes this and has already committed to working closely with chapter members to develop his platform.

Zachary has also already committed to working directly with ecosocialist comrades in the chapter on his platform, and said as much during his pitch to the chapter just now. He also requested that the Defund WG contact him, and has spoken to Abel A about BDS.

It’s abundantly clear to me at this point that we wouldn’t just be more bodies on Zachary’s campaign. Also, should Zachary win, we have a genuine opportunity (considering the makeup of the DC Council) to immediately begin introducing and passing legislation that delivers material benefits to our class. I’m in favor of that.