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.
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.
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.
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.
Constituent Service Corner and Event Updates
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!
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.
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!
Thank you for reading! Please stay in touch.
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