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For DC Council in Ward 1: Brianne Nadeau

After 15 years being represented by Jim Graham on the DC Council and several recent scandals, many Ward 1 voters feel it is time for a new face. This year, they have an excellent choice in Brianne Nadeau, and we encourage Democratic voters to choose her in the primary on April 1 or in early voting beginning March 17.

Photo from the candidate website.

One of our contributors perhaps put it best in our survey to determine the endorsements: "I think Jim Graham has made some very respectable contributions to the city during his time in service but as of late he seems ineffective, out of touch, and inactive on the issues that really matter. I think Brianne Nadeau would be a welcome breath of fresh air."

Nadeau has been working to improve her neighborhood for many years, including a stint on the U Street Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B and then in the Ward 1 Democrats. She has advocated for smart growth and progressive policies such as reforming parking, adding new housing to welcome more neighbors, and providing affordable housing for less affluent residents.

She also has shown the energy that is required to be a successful candidate for political office, knocking on doors all across Ward 1, which includes U Street, Adams Morgan, Kalorama Triangle, Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, LeDroit Park, Pleasant Plains, and Park View.

Her success and outreach helped persuade fellow challengers Bryan Weaver and Beverley Wheeler to let her have a head-to-head contest with Graham. Those factors have propelled this race to be one of the most competitive this year, and have Graham seriously fighting for his political survival.

Unfortunately, Graham has responded to this threat by appealing to the most reactionary voters in Ward 1 on growth and development. He started the campaign simply expressing concern about certain "pop-up" additions atop row houses (some, admittedly ugly), then moved to stridently warning about "overdevelopment," and has more recently promised at a candidate forum to "do everything in my power" to halt the DC Zoning Update.

This is particularly sad because the zoning update does nothing to allow any taller buildings or more pop-ups than under current zoning, but it does create a few opportunities to add new, often lower-cost housing in existing structures. In opposing these changes, Graham is actually fighting against the very principles of housing affordability he claims to support.

That's too bad, because Graham has also been a long champion of better transit service, particularly bus service, which often gets forgotten in the public discourse. (Nadeau promises to push even harder for bus improvements, and is promoting efforts to get a 16th Street bus lane.) Graham has also been a voice for many progressive issues on the council during his tenure. Sadly, very troubling ethical scandals over the past few years have clouded Graham's legacy of positive action on many issues.

In this election, voters do not simply have a choice between Graham and not-Graham; they have the opportunity to select a very worthy councilmember for all of Ward 1. We hope voters in the Democratic primary will select Brianne Nadeau on April 1 or in early voting starting March 17.

For more information on Nadeau and Graham, see our video interviews with the candidates on housing, the zoning update, transportation, and education.

This is the official endorsement of Greater Greater Washington. To determine endorsements, we invite regular contributors and editors to participate in a survey about their preferences and opinions about upcoming races. The editorial board then decides whether to make an endorsement based on the responses in the survey and whether there is a clear consensus.


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I couldn't agree more. Ms. Nadeau has displayed a sincere interest in promoting a more liveable DC through better land use and transportation policy.

by RM-S on Mar 10, 2014 2:29 pm • linkreport

Brianne will be a great council-member. For the last 8 years, Jim Graham has been absent at every important issue facing the city from especially k-12, adult education, city contracting and more. Even if Graham was not ethically challenged it is time for change...and energy. Brianne is thoughtful on policy and I especially like her interest in civic engagement, education and her interest in seniors. I hope she can one part Kenyon and another part Grosso.

by Ward1United on Mar 10, 2014 2:38 pm • linkreport

Brianne came to my door in Pleasant Plains last weekend and I was really impressed with her. I've never seen Graham in my neighborhood, though he's been actively spamming our list-serv with his "accomplishments" over the past month. Maybe he's getting nervous.

by Pleasant Plains on Mar 10, 2014 2:53 pm • linkreport

Good endorsement. Graham is not the worst of them by any stretch, but it's time for him to go park his bug on somebody else's sidewalk.

by renegade09 on Mar 10, 2014 3:39 pm • linkreport


I would say Graham is certainly one of the worst three or so. This would be a big win for DC to have him lose this race.

I kicked in $35 for Brianne, and I live in W4. I would encourage you all to do the same, and most importantly, get out and vote. Also make sure your friends and family vote as well!

by Kyle-w on Mar 10, 2014 4:04 pm • linkreport

I've lived in Ward 1 for more than a decade and I'm voting for Brianne, but it was not an easy choice. I like Brianne personally and she's super hard working and will be a good CM.

It was a hard choice because Jim is very good at constituent service and has helped my family out on a number of very local issues. He knows the ward and and city agencies through and through. He worked hard to root out nightclub violence without squelching the U Street corridor's nightlife.

But he has hurt himself by association with Ted Loza, not being aggressive enough at blowing the whistle on attempted bribery, and playing games with city contracting. He's no Harry Thomas Jr. on the DC corruptometer, but he's damaged goods and we need a new start.

by Ward 1 Guy on Mar 10, 2014 4:08 pm • linkreport

1. I can understand all the allegations of corruptions on Graham. The world would be a better place if he left office. And I'd like to feel better if we could show that he somehow magically cleaned himself. But back in the real world, getting things done counts for a lot and actually Brianne has showed nothing on that front.

2. Speaking of getting things done, I wonder where all those tree boxes that Sustainable U and Clean Currents promised will show up.

3. Graham is very right to criticize the V st popup and do something to prevent more of it. It is ugly, cheap, and not the investment that is needed. He also was at least on top of the 965 Florida debacle where Brianne (and GGW) took a vacation. I'd love to look at the Fundrise donor list....

I don't like him, but he emails me back when I complain about something, and Brianne doesn't. Sorry, Graham won this voter over.

by charlie on Mar 10, 2014 4:14 pm • linkreport

"I don't like him, but he emails me back when I complain about something, and Brianne doesn't. Sorry, Graham won this voter over."

Wait. You expected Brianne, a candidate for office with a small campaign staff, to respond directly to your complaints? Jim Graham may be responsive but he also has constituent services staff to deal with the nuts-and-bolts.

by Adam L on Mar 10, 2014 4:33 pm • linkreport

@Adam L

*Paid* constituent services staff to deal with e-mails.

Your statement basically says: I will vote for the incumbent, always.

by Kyle-w on Mar 10, 2014 5:20 pm • linkreport


I was quoting charlie. But yes, that's what I was questioning.

by Adam L on Mar 10, 2014 6:00 pm • linkreport


I'm not going to weigh in the ward one contest, but I will add to your point that writing back counts. When I wrote Graham about something, he wrote me back and offered a thoughtful, on-point response. That does count for a lot.

Over the past couple of years I wrote Wells about issues he was working on, and never got a response from anyone in his office. Although I like where Wells stands on some issues, I'm totally not motivated to vote for him.

by kob on Mar 10, 2014 6:09 pm • linkreport

@Adam L

Sorry about that, it was getting late in the workday!

by Kyle-w on Mar 11, 2014 9:10 am • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by Lisbeth on Mar 18, 2014 3:51 pm • linkreport

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