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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

May 26, 2023
I think it’s important to review this year’s budget in the context of the financial realities we are facing. Unfortunately, this year, our resources are shrinking. In February, the CFO forecast a revenue drop of more than $390 million largely due to reduction in revenues from falling commercial real estate values, the end to a huge influx of federal funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and an overall slowdown in the economy as a result of high inflation. At the same time, our expenditures are increasing due to increased costs on everything from existing capital projects to Medicaid, our need to fully fund DC government retirement accounts, and new collective bargaining agreements.
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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

May 8, 2023
Happy Monday! I’ll be brief. The countdown to finalize and vote on the FY2024 budget is underway. As of last week, all Committees conducted the budget mark-ups for their respective agencies and the Council completed a marathon Budget Work Session where we discussed Committee recommendations and further priorities. You can find the Committee reports here and the view the Budget Work Session here. The next step is the first vote on the Local Budget Act (LBA) and the Budget Support Act (BSA) by the full Council, scheduled for Tuesday, May 16. The second vote on the LBA will be held on Tuesday, May 30.
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Committee on Health's FY24 Budget Investments and Priorities

April 26, 2023
Perhaps the most-used buzzword in budget season is “balance.” We balance the numbers, balance policy priorities, and balance the trade-offs. In a challenging budget year, the Committee on Health’s proposed budget report not only balances prior funding commitments but makes real, new investments in improving the health of all District residents.
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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

April 19, 2023
Neighbors, Spring has sprung! Pollen has made its annual resurgence, and the Cherry Blossoms reached peak bloom. I hope you have had a chance to see them, whether you went to the Tidal Basin or took a stroll through the many DC neighborhoods blessed by their presence.
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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

March 24, 2023
Spring is finally here, and you know what that means – warmer days, more pollen, Cherry Blossoms in peak form, the joy of March Madness, and the launch of budget season. Earlier this week, Mayor Bowser released her FY24 budget proposal to the public. Now begins the Council’s 70-day window of review, public hearings, meetings, and finally votes.
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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

March 6, 2023
Neighbors, We’ve reached the end of performance oversight season! We appreciate the 186 residents and advocates who volunteered their time and energy to testify during the Council Period 25 oversight cycle for the Committee on Health. Council cannot effectively do our work without the input and feedback of residents and advocates. I also appreciate the coordination and frankness of agency directors and government witnesses who provided vital information regarding the operational structures and needs of their respective agencies.
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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

February 18, 2023
Neighbors, Happy Black History Month! There has been nationwide controversy about how the contributions of Black Americans have and will be taught throughout K-12 education and beyond. In DC, there is robust discussion about what content will be included in the revised Social Studies Standards determined by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. While these conversations may make some uncomfortable, it is important that we engage in them.
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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

January 17, 2023
Neighbors, It is a new year and a new Council Period, which means lots of change is happening down at the Wilson Building. As you may know, a couple of weeks ago, my colleagues confirmed my appointment as chair of the Council’s Committee on Health—an incredible responsibility and one I’m proud to take on. Though the District has made important strides in access to health insurance coverage, inequities in terms of access to care and health outcomes persist. Just last week, I reviewed a recent report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner showing deaths due to opioid use in DC is trending upwards and is also most prevalent among Black men ages 50-69 – not a demographic we often hear about in opioid-related news.
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Council Period 24 - It's a Wrap

December 21, 2022
Dear Neighbors, Last night, the Council officially wrapped up the business of Council Period 24. I can hardly believe that it’s been nearly TWO years already. A lot has happened since January 2021 when I started my term, and every day I’m grateful for the gift to be able to serve as an At-Large Councilmember.
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November 2022 Newsletter

November 30, 2022
‘Tis the season for gratitude and thanks. While as a city we continue to deal with some tough challenges, I am encouraged by the ways we look out for our neighbors and those who need our support. I witness examples of caring every day as I meet with constituents and advocates and visit schools, parks, and businesses around the District. As a Councilmember, I am thankful for the ways that residents challenge and engage with me to explore how to solve some of the city’s most pressing issues, such as creating a pilot for free bus access, giving SNAP a raise, and ensuring access to comprehensive reproductive services. 
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October 2022 Newsletter

October 31, 2022
Fall has fallen! The leaves that are left have graced our city with vibrant hues of reds, yellows, and oranges. The weather is finally beginning to match the season, reminding us that change is inevitable. October has been busy as the Council prepares for the end of the Council Period. Many committees have been holding hearings and markups to ensure passage of legislation before the end of the year. But that hasn’t stopped me from introducing several bills that address the upkeep of our parks and recreation facilities, bolstering community land trusts, protecting renters, and expanding transportation access, which you can learn more about below
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September 2022 Newsletter

September 29, 2022
Neighbors, Can you believe it's almost October? Sweater weather is here! Council is back in session, kids are back in the classroom, and rush hour has returned full force. As we change seasons, it's important to keep yourself and your family safe from the number of illnesses that show up this time of year. This month, I got my "Flooster" (flu shot and COVID booster) at my local COVID center. Research shows that vaccines are effective in reducing the severity of COVID, as well as other respiratory illnesses.
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August 2022 Newsletter

August 31, 2022
This summer, I have been working with colleagues and DC government agencies to try to ensure the months and year ahead are safe and fulfilling for all—from our classrooms to our senior wellness centers to our city streets. This newsletter is a bit of a catch up on those activities, but is also jam-packed with information you can use.
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May 2022 Newsletter

May 26, 2022
Before diving in on Council updates from May, I’d like to share important details and dates about the upcoming primary election. Tuesday, June 21s is Election Day in the District, but you have lots of ways to cast your vote before then. Every DC voter registered with a political party has been mailed a ballot for the primary. If you have not received yours yet, keep an eye out for a large purple and white envelope in your mailbox in the coming days. You have the option to complete this mail-in ballot and then either mail it back to the Board of Elections or drop it off at one of the 55 mail ballot drop boxes which open on Friday, May 27th.
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April 2022 Newsletter

April 30, 2022
I cannot believe May is just around the corner – it’s been a very busy month at the Council. This newsletter provides important updates about the work I’ve been doing on your behalf, but first, I’d like to hold space for a conversation on public safety across the District. According to the Metropolitan Police Department’s year over year crime data, many statistics are jarring. Compared to 2021, robberies have increased by 54%, vehicle theft is up by 14%, and all violent crime has increased by 25%. As a community, we know that the pandemic exacerbated resources that were already stretched thin and access to necessities like healthy foods, mental health supports, or affordable housing became out of reach for far too many neighbors. We are not alone in this trend. According to 2021 national numbers, homicides in large cities have increased by 7% and violent crime continues to rise. And that is no excuse for inaction. I deeply understand the concerns of neighbors who feel anxious walking their family to the playground or traversing home at night. This cannot and should not be our new normal.
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March Newsletter 2022

March 31, 2022
I am proud to share updates from a March filled with in-person events, budget hearings, and newly introduced legislation. Most notably, Mayor Bowser released her fiscal year 2023 budget proposal on March 16th. Later that week, Councilmembers had the opportunity to question the Mayor and her team on the budget, changes from the previous fiscal year, and new initiatives and plans. Since then, we’ve dug even deeper.
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February Newsletter 2022

February 28, 2022
I have been laser focused on performance oversight hearing questions that draw out quality and informative responses. We are moving into the tail end of our performance oversight hearing schedule, so be sure to check out upcoming hearings and sign up to testify. I greatly appreciate every public witness that has taken time to share their perspective this year.
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January Newsletter 2022

January 31, 2022
This year is already off to a whirlwind start. DC saw double its typical January snowfall. The District’s COVID-19 case count is rapidly declining, while vaccinations are steadily increasing. And events like the Washington Auto Show have returned for the first time in 2 years. In terms of the work of the city: Ward taskforces have kicked off their work to redraw ANC boundaries, a new facility for unhoused residents has finally opened, agencies annual performance oversight hearings are underway, and I have introduced four pieces of new legislation this month.
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Annual Review 2021

December 22, 2021
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November Newsletter

November 29, 2021
‘Tis the season for gratitude and cheer – and there is so much to brighten our spirits as we head deeper into the holiday season. As many of you are aware, our younger residents ages 5 to 11 are finally eligible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Booster shots are now available for all residents 18 and older who received their second COVID vaccine shot on or before May 29, 2021. You can find sites here. Twenty months into this pandemic, getting vaccinated still remains the number one form of protection.
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Redistricting Discussion Maps

November 1, 2021
The Subcommittee on Redistricting shared an update in the process of right-sizing our Wards. As a member of the subcommittee, I am pleased to share three, new discussion maps (below) to further facilitate conversation on what could be our future ward boundaries. Read more about the three maps here.In order to foster productive dialogue on redistricting choices and trade offs, the subcommittee has released three map proposals for community discussion. The three maps were chosen from among the 130 submitted to the subcommittee by DC residents. Each map contains multiple options for rebalancing wards; the subcommittee is looking for input on the multiple decisions made within each map. In other words, the subcommittee’s final proposal will likely include elements from each of the three maps. Each map should not be considered as a whole, but as a combination of options.
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October Newsletter

October 28, 2021
A time sensitive issue I hope you will engage with before the end of this year is the redistricting process. Check out my Instagram explainer in my highlights section on why the redistricting process happens every 10 years and how you can get involved. There are two, main ways you can make your voice heard during this process. First, attend an upcoming hearing and testify on the boundaries that matter most to you. Second, draw and submit your own map using our online mapping software. I look forward to hearing from you through either of these avenues.
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September Newsletter

September 20, 2021
As we begin the transition from summer to autumn, there’s a lot going on across the District. At the end of August, schools across the city welcomed students back for the 2021-2022 academic year. Throughout recess, I have been busy visiting schools prior to the first day, closely following our school communities and listening to their concerns about returning to in-person learning, and engaging in oversight with the relevant agencies. The Council will hold a few hearings regarding school reopening in the coming weeks, with more information below.
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August Newsletter

August 19, 2021
While the Council is technically on recess until October 1st, my team and I have certainly been keeping busy serving the residents. Earlier this month, the Council unanimously passed the fiscal year 2022 budget, many highlights are included below. This month I’ve also been visiting various school campuses and immunization clinics prior to our return to in-person learning. School leaders and teachers are eager to welcome our students back to school, and I know many students are just as eager to see their teachers, coaches, and peers. The excitement of back to school also comes with reservations for some families—which is entirely understandable. DC Public Schools have announced updated guidance for students, staff, and school communities regarding COVID-19 protocols and vaccinations. You can view all the updated information here and highlights in the newsletter below. Families can also access the COVID-19 testing consent form here.
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July Newsletter

July 30, 2021
Last week the Council cast a unanimous first vote to approve the fiscal year 2022 budget. I am proud to support investments that center equity and champion a recovery that will allow all DC residents an opportunity for success. Building on the foundation the Mayor’s proposed budget established, the Council strengthened our commitment to a full recovery and passed an amendment to increase revenue to grow our investments in housing, expand our local Earned Income Tax Credit, and support our childcare services in the District. More highlights are below.
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June Budget Newsletter

July 6, 2021
The past month has been one full of budget hearings, reopening milestones, and community engagement. Last week, Council committees completed budget mark-ups on the Mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget. Included below are many highlights of the Council’s continued investments in our workers, residents, and recovery.
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May Newsletter

May 27, 2021
When taking a moment to step back and reflect on all we have accomplished – together – so far this year, I have two words: thank you. With just over 50% of District residents partially or fully vaccinated, I thank you for getting yourself, your friends, and your family vaccinated. We still have more work to do on that front, but I now have one more ask of you. Ahead of the summer months, we must make sure our neighbors are in the best position possible to thrive in this new normal. That starts with STAY DC. As we envision our emergence from the pandemic, our work on funding an equitable recovery is just beginning. The Mayor will release her budget to Councilmembers today. I am watching for investments that support our most vulnerable communities first. On Wednesday, June 2nd at 5 PM, I will host a virtual discussion on the budget process. I hope you will join me for the event, ‘Town Hall: Understanding the Budget Process.’ Please click here to RSVP.
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April Newsletter

April 29, 2021
This past month has been filled with milestones: I reached my first 100 Days in office, we celebrated a historic vote for DC Statehood, and the District introduced new walk-up vaccination sites across the District. With this newsletter, I hope to keep you informed on the priorities my team and I are working on – all underscored by my belief that your zip code should not determine your opportunity for success. I’ve spent time this past month working with the Chairman on revisions to the Comprehensive Plan, gearing up to review the Mayor’s proposed FY2022 budget starting May 27th, introducing legislation that will prioritize our most vulnerable residents, attending oversight hearings and getting out in the community. You’ll find detailed updates on all these topics below.
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Mid-April Updates

April 14, 2021
When April began, we expected a Nationals baseball opener on the 1st, all DC residents to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in May, and the Mayor’s proposed FY22 budget submission by the end of the month. A lot has changed. I was excited to see our players take to the field on April 6th and look forward to the rest of our sports teams being able to welcome fans in the stands, safely. All DC residents 16+ are now eligible to receive the vaccine. And the Council will now receive the Mayor’s proposed budget on May 27th. With this note, I hope to keep you informed on how to help our communities slowly and safely return to a new normal. Please find some further information on vaccine appointments and reopening guidelines below. The more education and support you can give your neighbors about the vaccine, the better.
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My First 100 Days in 60 Seconds - Video

April 12, 2021
Today marks my first 100 days as your Councilmember. It is an honor and a privilege to be your advocate. These past few months have been particularly difficult as we all long for a sense of new normal. It is coming. Pre-register for your vaccine appointment and help your neighbor do so for theirs. I’m working each day to ensure a fair and equitable recovery for all DC residents. Here's my first 100 days in 60 seconds.
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March Newsletter

March 25, 2021
Since my last newsletter, my team and I have been busy digging into DC agencies’ performance over the past year and hitting some milestones. Before we look deeper at these moments, I invite you to look at DC’s progress in fighting COVID-19. To date, DC has administered 255,636 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Many of you experienced the stress and scramble of DC’s old vaccination appointment site that has since been replaced with a pre-registration system which is working to administer the vaccine in an equitable, efficient way. While all adults will become eligible to receive the vaccine on May 1st, the pre-registration site is open right now for all DC residents and essential workers to sign up for the appointment waitlist.
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Pre-Registration Vaccination Update

March 9, 2021
Dear Neighbor, I want to provide an update on DC’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Starting tomorrow, March 10, 2021, eligible residents can pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through or by calling 1-855-363-0333. Below are some answers to common questions about how the process will work.
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February Newsletter

February 26, 2021
The Council’s annual practice of holding performance oversight hearings to dig into the activities of every single District agency, Board, and Commission began this month. But, I know for many of you the performance of agencies involved in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is top of mind. February’s cold and wet weather has deepened our desire for a time when we can gather safely together with friends and family. The quickening pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout brings us hope. It will take us some time to get to everyone, but I am committed to making this process as seamless and equitable for residents. We clearly have more work to do to regain residents' trust.
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January Newsletter

January 29, 2021
Welcome to my first newsletter! The past month has been busy, and I wanted to take some time to give you an update on life in the virtual Wilson Building. I was humbly sworn in as an At-Large Councilmember on January 2nd in front of a small group of socially distanced guests. This was a reminder of the challenges we face as a city, nation, and worldwide community from the threat of COVID-19.
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