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August 2022 Newsletter

August 31, 2022

My favorite time of year is fast approaching – FALL! Like many of you, I am feeling nervous excitement about the start of the school year. My oldest daughter starts Pre-K3, so some of this nervousness is natural, but I can’t help but to feel optimistic. There is so much growth and opportunity ahead. 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. One thing I want to be sure to highlight is that applications are open for the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund. During my first year in office, the Council took steps to ensure we could give childcare workers a raise. Eligible workers can receive a supplemental payment up to $14,000! Applications for this first round of funding close September 20 and once all the documentation is submitted, funds arrive in a matter of weeks. So, if you know anyone who works at a childcare center or home in DC, please spread the word.My team and I are preparing for a busy Fall ahead and the end of Council Period 24. There will be a flurry of hearings and votes in the next few months. Any legislation that does not have a second vote by December 20 will die, and the legislative process must start again over in January. We are anticipating mark-ups on my legislation to promote safe passage to school, give SNAP a raise, simplify the expungement process, and enhance reproductive health protections. There are also several hearings coming up on bills I introduced earlier this Council Period.  It’s been a busy summer – we’ve recharged, welcomed new staff, and continued the work. I continue to be thankful for the opportunity to find creative and practical ways to help our residents.

In service,

Christina Henderson

Councilmember, At-Large

Legislative Highlights

Enhancing Reproductive Health Protections Hearing

On July 14, the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities held a hearing on two bills aimed at protecting reproductive rights, including B24-0726, “Enhancing Reproductive Health Protections Amendment Act of 2022” which I introduced along with nine of my colleagues. The legislation aims to protect those who support and assist individuals seeking to self-terminate a pregnancy and shields those who provide, dispense, or transfer any product used for self-managed abortions from any penalties. The hearing was well-attended and provided a platform for important conversation on how DC can counteract the national attack on reproductive rights.

Introduced Legislation

In July, before the Council wrapped up for summer recess, I introduced B24-0937, the “Commission on Public Compensation Establishment Amendment Act of 2022”, which would establish a Commission on Public Compensation to review and make recommendations on the compensation and stipend levels for the members of Council of the District Columbia, the Mayor, the Attorney General, the members of the State Board of Education, and several public commissions and boards including Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. The last time the District attempted to engage in a comprehensive study of the compensation and stipend levels of the District’s boards and commissions was in 2002. If we want to continue to be able to recruit great people to serve in roles on important boards like the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABRA) or the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB), we should ensure individuals are being appropriately compensated for their work.

Oversight Updates

Throughout the Council’s summer recess, my team and I have continued to craft legislation and work with District agencies to address pressing needs and areas of concern.

  • Flooding. I recently pressed local agencies to focus particularly on flooding in Ward 7 at the intersection of Minnesota and Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE during one of the storms. I recently pressed DC Water and the Department of Transportation on plans to ease the flooding in Ward 7 at the intersection of Minnesota and Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE and the underpass at Eastern Ave and Olive Street NE during rain storms. Infrastructure upgrades completed in 2019 have failed due to record rainfall in 2021 and now 2022. DC Water reported plans to do additional upgrades next year.
  • Traffic safety. I sent a letter to DDOT about automated traffic enforcement (ATE) and the importance of providing validation for the placement of speed cameras. I recently met with Director Lott and his team as a follow-up. It is vital that we build trust in the effectiveness of ATE as the District seeks to move away from using police officers for traffic safety enforcement, pursuant to the suggestions and findings from the Police Reform Commission. More coming soon on this.

Constituent Service Corner and Event Updates

Open Streets: I really enjoyed attending the Ward 7 Open Streets DC event on July 30 and the Ward 5 Open Streets. It’s one of my favorite events and I’m looking forward to future ones.

Ward 7 Back to School Giveaway: On August 20, 2022, from 11:00am to 2:00pm, Ward 7 families were invited to pick up free school supplies and enjoy food and entertainment at the East River Park Shopping Center, 3925 Minnesota Ave. NE. A big thank you to Eboni-Rose Thompson, Ward 7 SBOE Representative and to Tony Lewis for organizing these events.

The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi After multiple virtual interviews, I had the honor of doing my *first* in-person stream of The Politics Hour! We spoke about vaccine mandates, RFK stadium development, back to school logistics, and The Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund. Check out the interview here.

Senior Center Tours While visiting senior centers this summer, I appreciated the opportunity to learn about the variety of programs and services offered and some of the infrastructure or program improvements that might help DC better meet the needs of our older residents. They came with their questions, concerns, and solutions!

DDOT Field Operations Branch Visit: During my July visit, I learned about what it takes to make signs, deployment, and even got to check out the new traffic safety technology, such as LED stop signs!

Back to School Vaccine PSA Last month, I spent some time working on a vaccination public service announcement for DC residents. It’s important that we use the resources for vaccines offered throughout the city as our young ones make their way back to the classroom. DC has mobile vaccine clinics every Tuesday throughout the city, through September. We encourage you to visit DC's Mobile Clinic Sign-Up to pre- register. All vaccines are offered free of charge, regardless of medical insurance coverage.

Monkeypox Vaccinations Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with body fluid or monkeypox lesions. We’ve had several confirmed cases in the District of Columbia. There is a vaccine available, albeit in limited amounts. DC Health’s site for registering for Monkeypox vaccinations and receiving more information can be accessed here.

When Council’s Away…

Council many be in recess, but Team Henderson has been makin' moves! Please give a warm welcome to our 2 newest staff members, Nico and Chantal, who are passionate about their service to the residents of DC. They are both DCPS graduates and former educators. Check them out!

Meet Nicholas (Nico) Pcholkin! (he/him)

Nico is thrilled to join Team Henderson as a Legislative Assistant! He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Georgetown University. A former middle school English teacher, Nico was a Teach for America Corps member in San Jose, California, and then in Monterrey, Mexico. He spent five years in the classroom. Most recently, Nico was a Congressional staffer. He is driven by the belief that people deserve to be provided what they need to have a fair and fighting chance to build safe, stable, productive, and fulfilling lives. He is excited to work towards that mission outside of the classroom and through practical and effective policy. Nico is also a lover of historical fiction, dumplings, and playing sports!

Meet Chantal Fuller! (she/her)

Chantal is elated about joining Team Henderson as the Communications Director! She is a proud resident of The Great Ward 8, and a graduate of The University of Wisconsin-Madison and of Trinity Washington University. Prior to joining the team, Chantal spent eight years in DCPS and the charter sector as a special education and English teacher. She is enthusiastic to empower residents to learn and utilize all the resources DC has to offer. Chantal is most excited about bringing more of the hard work of Team Henderson into the public eye, demystifying government operations, and engaging the Millennials and youth of our city. She is obsessed with seafood, reality TV, and all things DC culture!

Stay Connected

Thank you for reading! Please stay in touch.

**Starting September 6, all Council emails will switch to the .gov domain.**

Christina Henderson
At-Large Councilmember

Mike Shaffer
Chief of Staff

Heather Edelman
Deputy Chief of Staff

Gabrielle Rogoff
Legislative Director

Mykelle Richburg
Legislative Assistant

Ana Berríos-Vázquez
Constituent Services Director

Nicholas Pcholkin
Legislative Assistant

Chantal Fuller
Communications Director