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.
May 31st is the last day to register to vote, to update your voter information to receive a mail-in ballot, or to change your party affiliation. June 6th is the last day to request an absentee ballot if you would like to receive it at a location other than the address listed on your voter registration.
If you miss the deadlines to register to vote, or change your registration or party affiliation, you can still register at any early vote center or at a polling location on Election Day.
If you’d like to vote in-person, early voting begins on Friday, June 10th until Sunday, June 19th, and early vote centers are open from 8:30am – 7:00pm. You can also drop off your mail ballots at early vote centers during regular hours.
Finally, I want to hold space for the sorrow and grief sweeping the nation yet again due to gun violence. My heart breaks for the families, friends, and communities directly affected by the mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Ulvade, TX. And I am ever grateful for the educators, social workers, and school personnel across the country who all too often find themselves having to help our young people process and understand these horrific incidents. As someone who worked in Congress, it’s very easy to feel jaded and defeated in moments like this because inaction is all too common. But we have to hold to hope that this time will be different and federal lawmakers will act. School shootings are not normal. Grocery store shootings are not normal. We do not have to accept this as our norm.
Christina Henderson Councilmember, At-Large ChristinaHendersonDC.com
Stay Cool and Hydrated as Temperatures Increase
As we prepare for the summer months, and more importantly the summer temperatures, I am looking forward to enjoying the recreation facilities DC has to offer. I hope you and your family will continue to be safe in the heat, especially as 90-degree days approach. Be sure to always have water available and reference the map for 2022 cooling centers across the District.
There is now relief for you and your family with the opening of all DC pools and spray parks on Saturday, May 28th.
Join Mayor Bowser, and neighbors for a summer celebration at the Upshur Pool at 4300 Arkansas Avenue, NW on Saturday May 28th at 10:30 AM.
The Final FY23 BudgetI am proud to have fully approved the Fiscal Year 2023 Local Budget Act (LBA). There are two components to the fiscal year 2023 budget, the LBA and the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Support Act (BSA). With the Council’s second vote on the LBA complete, this portion of the budget will head to the Mayor for approval. The second and final vote on the BSA will be held on June 7th.With small changes, we approved the LBA on Tuesday of this week. In last month’s newsletter here, you can find a full list of highlights I was proud to champion. This month, I want to share highlights on four key investments I believe will move the needle for working families in the District, along with a list of other key highlights.Please find a full suite of budget resources including legislative text, committee reports, and more on the Council budget office website.
DC Diaper Bank Grant Program: $500,000
These funds are the first local government dollars the District will allocate towards diaper access for families. A sufficient supply of diapers for one child can cost a family between $75 and $100 month, but 1 in 3 mothers run out of diapers every month. Additionally, diapers are not covered by SNAP and WIC, so this small investment will have a big impact on District families. This grant will be administered by the Department of Health Care Finance.
Perinatal Mental Health Task Force: $118,000
The Task Force was first established by legislation passed in 2018 yet went unfunded. I am proud to continue my commitment to bettering maternal health outcomes for families with this investment. My office worked with a coalition of organizations to update the scope and charge of the Task Force. It will study an array of issues including access and barriers to care, screening and prevention of mood and anxiety disorders, and gaps in care provision and coordination, among several other important areas of need for new mothers and families. The Task Force will operate under the Department of Health Care Finance, which launched a Maternal Health Advisory Group last year.
School-Based Mental Health Enhancements: $6.4 million
We know that our youngest residents in DC have experienced trauma and loss at an immeasurable scale these past two years. This funding will ensure a mental health provider is in every school with a community based-organization (CBO) grant funded at the $80,000 level, a request from school leaders we honored. Further, funding was added for the Department of Behavioral Health to conduct a study on the rates and costs of expanding our school-based mental health services.
2 Weeks of Paid Medical Leave for All DC Government Workers: $4.4 million
I remain steadfast in my commitment to pass legislation to increase the benefits in our government paid leave program. We set aside $4.4 million in this budget to fund this legislation because it is essential we support a competitive benefits package at the local government level to attract and retain top talent.
Other Key Highlights
$127,354 for 1 new FTE at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) to support fatality review boards and better serve residents in need
$41.6 million for schools with an At-Risk population greater than 40% in addition to funding for schools with an At-Risk population greater than 70%. These funds enable school communities and principals to utilize in a way that best supports their students
5.87% increase to the UPSFF for student supports at every level of learning
$6 million to support a school nurse in every school building
$300,000 additional investment for the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants to specifically support victims with disabilities and special educational needs
$22 million in grant opportunities for fresh food businesses locating in Wards 7 and 8
Stop by Marianne’s at the MLK Library. This café is run by DC Central Kitchen and serves delicious, local items!
As a member of the Subcommittee on Redistricting, it has been a long yet rewarding experience to work with neighbors on where Ward and Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) lines should be drawn. We are in the home stretch. The full Council took its first vote on what future ANC and Single-Member District (SMD) boundaries could look like on May 24th. Please see the draft map below. The final vote will be held Tuesday, June 7th.
Changes by the Committee of the Whole and the Subcommittee on Redistricting
Ahead of the Council’s first vote, there was robust engagement with the community and its stakeholders when considering new boundaries. Ward task forces submitted detailed reports with a recommendation for new ANC and SMD lines in their neighborhoods. The Subcommittee then held two public hearings to discuss these recommendations with over 200 public witnesses. The below explanations describe changes made by the Committee of the Whole and Subcommittee on Redistricting to Ward task force recommendations.
Ward 8 – The Subcommittee worked with the task force and the Ward Councilmember to revise the entire map. There was a priority to maintain a cross-ward ANC with 6/8F. Testimony showed two main qualms with the Task Force recommended map: that the task force recommendations unnecessarily split the historic Anacostia neighborhood, and that it provided an outsized voice to Navy Yard residents over the Anacostia and Fairlawn neighborhoods. The Subcommittee revised ANC 8F to no longer cross the Anacostia River (although it still crosses the Ward 6 boundary) and contain the Anacostia neighborhood in one ANC, ANC 8A.
Ward 7 – The Committee of the Whole made changes to the recommended map of the Subcommittee. This new map maintains two cross-river ANCs: ANC 7D which will now encompass a majority of the west of the river population and three SMDs east of the river; and ANC 7F which will include Reservation 13 and the DC Jail, thus promoting cross-river collaboration. The Committee also shifted the proposed ANC 7D01 boundaries to ANC 7C, uniting the neighborhoods along Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue. In addition, a portion of the Greenway community rejoins ANC 7B.
Ward 6 - Eliminated a split Census block and better balanced the populations between the ANC 6C SMD.
Ward 5 - Moved one residential building out of 5A01 into 5A02, and moved part of 5C07 to 5B06.
Ward 4 – No changes to the taskforce recommendation.
Ward 3 - Returned a portion of the Cleveland Park neighborhood to ANC 3C, while still maintaining the commercial corridor vision of the task force. This shift included moving the Woodland-Normanstone neighborhood from ANC 3A to ANC 3C, which was a near-unanimous request from residents of the neighborhood.
Ward 2 – Minor, technical changes implemented.
Ward 1 - Rebalanced the ANC 1E/1B boundary, adjusted the ANC 1E boundaries in Park View and Pleasant Plains, and exchanged Census blocks between 1A04 and 1A07.
Councilmember Christina Henderson poses with family members of Edna Jackson and Vincent Reed at the celebration.
Important Agency Oversight Requests
Letter to Deputy Mayor for Operations and Infrastructure Babers and District Department of Transportation Director Lott on the Infrastructure Task Force
I would like to see DC compete for part of the $1 billion Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program aimed at restoring community connectivity to neighborhoods divided by highways. This is a great opportunity to re-envision DC-295 and its disruption to River Terrace, Parkside, Mayfair, Eastland Gardens, Kenilworth, Deanwood and Benning communities. After 70 years of division, it is time for improved access to schools, jobs, public transportation and more.
I have asked for a specific Infrastructure Task Force timeline, meeting schedule, and intent to apply. I have requested a response by Friday, June 3, 2022.
Letter to Department of General Services Director Anderson on Capital Projects
I have asked for an update and greater transparency on the status of capital projects at our playgrounds, recreation centers, and other projects across DC. In my letter, I have listed 12 specific projects for which communities deserve information such as project budget totals, contractors, timeline, and funds spent.
I have requested a response prior to Friday, June 3, 2022.
Letter to Chief Technology Officer Parker on High-Speed Internet Access
Amid the height of the pandemic, the District of Columbia Public Schools received $7.5 million from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Connectivity Fund. This fund was intended to help narrow our students’ digital divide by reimbursing the costs of eligible equipment such as laptops, WiFi hotspots, modems, and routers. I am requesting an update as to how these funds were spent, in addition to further information on future funding opportunities for the District.
Please find detailed questions on specific projects and funding pots in this letter. I have requested a response prior to Friday, June 3, 2022.
Councilmember Christina Henderson attends the graduation of the Project Empowerment Program administered by DOES. Congratulations to all the graduates for this deeply meaningful achievement.
Constituent Services Corner
DPR Communal Farm Weekly Veggie Giveaways
Local, fresh, and organic produce are available every week for DC residents. Until December, every Tuesday at 11 AM at Edgewood Rooftop Farm and every Wednesday at 11 AM at Lederer Gardens fresh veggies are available. More information here.
BBQ Masterpiece Junior Chef Competition
Cookery 202 and Giant have teamed up to bring the District their 30th annual Giant BBQ battle. Until June 17, kids and teens 17 and under can submit their original dishes for consideration. Prizes are available! Enter to win here.
Job Opportunities at the Something in the Water Festival June 17-19