Skolnik: Move Ward 4 forward by preparing for the best
My name is Max Skolnik and I am Erica's husband and Julian's father. As the Founder of Kid Power, Inc., I am an educator for hundreds of young people throughout the District. And, I'm a Democrat running for the Ward 4 seat on the DC Council.
In conversations with the residents and business owners of my Ward, it is clear that our community is in crisis. Unemployment has soared. Small businesses are struggling. Our streets are not safe. Public corruption flourishes. Education reform has stalled.
As a youth advocate, I am especially concerned that we are losing a generation of our future leaders. A few weeks ago, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson revealed that nearly 400 eighth graders, or 10% of the grade, have attempted suicide. That number reflects a deep hopelessness and despair.
Our young people are traumatized by violence so regular that it elicits collective shrugs from the public. I have heard 9-year old girls bear witness to murder and seen schoolchildren run from a hail of bullets. I have watched teenagers go off to funerals with the nonchalance of a trip to the store.
But, I have also seen hardened young people reignite their imagination and joy of play, as they rolled out cookies, spread paint on canvas, pulled carrots out of dirt. I have seen them give so much of themselves in service to the city, cleaning up its parks, wiping away the tears of its seniors, and feeding its hungry.
When we lament the truant, we neglect the artist. When we fixate on the curfew, we lose the physician. When we cast a fearful eye at the group of boys, we overlook the humanitarians, preachers, and presidents. For too long, we have expected the worst instead of preparing for the best.
So, what do we do now? I believe that the answers lie in our community, not in the flawed leadership of the DC Council. I believe that true progressive change is only possible when everyone has a seat at the table. Haven't we had enough of the backroom dealings, corporate dollars, and leadership vacuum? In a city striving for statehood, why do we settle for such limited local democracy? If elected, I will serve as an advocate for community solutions rather than a gatekeeper for the privileged.
Let's develop an economic plan for Ward 4 that includes support for small businesses, incentives for real job growth, increased vocational training opportunities, and strong community benefit agreements with the large developers seeking business in the Ward.
Let's push for a Ward 4 educational initiative with high-quality, universal afterschool programs; credit-recovery options that put our high school students on the path to graduation; a DC Dream Act that inspires the children of immigrants to plan for college; collaborative structures like Promise Neighborhoods that marshal the resources of government, business, and the non-profit and faith communities; and teacher, parent, and youth-driven school reform.
Let's promote more citizen participation in the budget and lawmaking process, and let's finally enact meaningful ethics reform that removes unregulated money from the political system.
I'm running for the young people who are yearning for hope and opportunity. I'm running for the seniors who have built this great city and deserve better from our leadership. I'm running for the hard-working families that need stable jobs, safe neighborhoods, and great schools. I'm running to renew an honest compact between our city's government and its citizens. And, I'm running for my one-year old son Julian, so that he can grow up to be a proud citizen of the District.
I ask for your input, your support, and your vote. Let's get to work and change this city.
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Max Skolnik is a candidate for the DC Council from Ward 4. The views in this article are his and do not necessarily represent those of Greater Greater Washington. We invite all candidates running for the DC Council to share their views with our community, but reserve the right to edit posts to fit our content and format rules. If you are a candidate and would like to submit an article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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