Posts about Max Skolnik
In Ward 4, Councilmember Muriel Bowser is facing five challengers in the April 3 Democratic primary. For his strong leadership on ethics and positive vision for the ward, we support Max Skolnik.
The DC Council is currently at a standstill, mired by scandal. Earlier this month, we learned of federal investigations into the prolific campaign money man Jeff Thompson. 12 out of 13 members of the Council took contributions from Thompson, including Bowser. In order to restore trust and effectiveness to the council, strong reforms are vitally important.
Skolnik, a former ANC commissioner, has shaped his campaign around ethics and campaign finance reform. He has a strong background in education and brings concrete and proven proposals for education in Ward 4. Skolnik would also bring a positive voice on development and smart growth to the council.
Skolnik is a strong advocate for real, meaningful campaign finance reform. He fully supports Initiative 70, the ballot measure that would ban direct corporate contributions to candidates. Skolnik has signed on to Independent at-large candidate David Grosso's transparency challenge, agreeing to fully disclose the sources of any and all campaign contributions. Additionally, Skolnik supports ending all outside employment for councilmembers and abolishing constituent services funds.
Skolnik also brings to the table a long record of experience in education and working with youth. Since 2002, Skolnik has run the non-profit Kid Power, which provides a full array of service-learning opportunities District youth. Skolnik understands that education involves far more than simply what happens in the classroom. This experience gives him a broad view on education that is presently lacking on the Council.
Specifically, Skolnik outlines detailed action items on education, including expanding the Promise Neighborhood initiative to Ward 4 and beyond. This program, which has seen huge success in Ward 7, understands that education is a "cradle to career" issue. Skolnik understands that the best way to lower unemployment, decrease crime, and increase achievement is to reform all areas of youth services.
Skolnik also importance of building communities that work for all residents, that foster small and local business, rather than relying on big-box retailers. Skolnik would be a strong and effective advocate for smart transportation and growth policies.
Bowser has not set herself apart as a strong leader with a vision for DC While she has talked about ethics and reform, her piecemeal approach to reform has been uninspiring. She is more reactive than proactive, with her ethics reform package being a prime example of this. Bowser missed a huge opportunity to distinguish herself as a champion for good government and transparency. She has also failed to provide effective oversight or strong leadership on the WMATA board.
We believe that Max Skolnik is the best choice in this race and encourage Ward 4 voters to give him their vote on April 3.
This is the official endorsement of Greater Greater Washington, written by one or more contributors. Active contributors and editors voted on endorsements, and any endorsement reflects a strong majority or greater in favor of endorsing the candidate.
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.
The race to represent Ward 4 on the DC Council is shaping up to be a crowded one. Whether or not it will also be competitive remains to be seen. At least 7 candidates are vying to unseat councilmember Muriel Bowser, who is running for her second full term.
Bowser was first voted onto the council in a 2007 special election to fill the seat vacated by Adrian Fenty when he was elected Mayor. She secured Fenty's endorsement and beat out 18 other candidates with 40% of the vote. Ward 4 voters then elected her to a full term in 2008 with 75% of the Democratic primary and 97% of the general election vote.
Bowser currently chairs the Council's Committee on Government Operations as well as the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. She also recently took over as the DC Council's representative on the WMATA Board of Directors.
On her website, which has not been updated to reflect her current committee chairmanship, She highlights her work on Pepco oversight, healthcare, and foreclosure reform.
If fundraising is any indicator, Bowser will have a distinct advantage. She raised over $63,000 in advance of the October 10 filing deadline and has $140,000 on hand. She will face two challengers who have shown fundraising prowess, or the willingness to fund themselves, and several more who have run for the DC Council in the past.
Max Skolnik, a relative newcomer to Ward 4, has been active in local issues for some time. He represented the Southwest Waterfront as an ANC commissioner from 2004-2008 and runs Kid Power Inc., which operates academic, nutritional, and service learning programs around the city. His campaign is based on three E's: Education, Economic Development, and Ethics.
Skolnik is a first-time council candidate, but has shown some fundraising and organizing skill. He raised over $26,000 before October 10, recently testified in front of Bowser's committee hearing on ethics reform, and has hit the streets of Ward 4 to spread his message. The question is, will he have the energy and talent to present a robust challenge to the incumbent?
Renee Bowser (no relation to Muriel) first ran for the Ward 4 seat as a member of the Statehood Green Party in the 2007 special election. She registered as a Democrat this time around and has jump started her campaign by taking out significant loans, totaling more than $26,000.
Bowser has a long resume. She works as a union lawyer and served 3 terms as an ANC commissioner including a stint as the chair of ANC 4D. Her platform is based around economic development, education, constituent service, and statehood. She has proved willing to commit financially and gotten some press. Her challenge will be translating these efforts to support at the polls.
Another two-time candidate, Baruti Jahi, came in a distant second to Bowser in 2008. He is focused on seniors, public safety, education, economic development, and reigning in waste in city government. Jahi has struggled to raise money this cycle and may find it difficult to make his voice heard in a crowded race.
Several other candidates have declared their intentions to run. Judi Jones ran against Bowser as an independent in 2007, Keith Jarrell is just getting his campaign started, and perpetual candidate Calvin Gurley appears to be taking a non-traditional route to spread his message.
The major storylines in this race are beginning to emerge, as Muriel Bowser attempts to tackle the task of ethics reform, which has been the hot button issue this year. Her post as chair of the Government Operations Committee gives her the opportunity to make sense of the mess of bills introduced by other council members and propose comprehensive ethics legislation.
If she is able to pass an ethics reform bill, Bowser will blunt a major line of criticism as well as tout a signature piece of legislation. Her opponents have begun to position themselves as good government reformers, but will have to find another angle if Bowser herself becomes one before the election.
Bowser's opponents haven't focused all of their efforts on ethics. Other major issues at play appear to be education, economic development, and constituent service. But, Bowser is a proven politician with all the advantages of incumbency. If one of her opponents hopes to stand out they are going to have to work tirelessly, communicate effectively, and, probably, get lucky.
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