Joshua Lopez could become first Latino elected Council member in Washington DC
A young leader is emerging in the Washington, DC, political scene. Joshua Lopez, born in DC of immigrant parents, could become the first-ever Latino elected official in the District of Columbia.
Joshua Lopez intends to win the special election for At-Large D.C. Councilmember, to be held this April 26th, 2011. where 10 candidates are running for a one-year term, before the 2012 general elections.
When I heard about Joshua Lopez, my friends told me: you have to meet this guy. All the things I heard about him were true, he seems real, he looks younger than his age (don’t let that fool you), he is smart, well spoken, trustworthy and highly motivated.
Well, I met Joshua Lopez this week, during an event organized by the New Latino Movement, where six of the 10 candidates for this special election met with the local Latino community:
Joshua Lopez is running against 9 other candidates, including experienced city politicians and community activists Vincent Orange, Bryan Weaver, Sekou Biddle, Dorothy Douglas, Patrick Mara, among others. His tougher rival seems to be Orange who has raised over $191,000 dollars versus $24,500 raised by Lopez, according to Four26.
Joshua Lopez is someone who can inspire you with his words and presence. When I talked to him, he came across as authentic and honest (even if his speech style reminded me of Adrian Fenty). If elected, Lopez will bring that energy of optimism and charisma, so much needed in the local DC government, filled with long-time career politicians who often don’t seem to represent all the people of this city.
This is especially true for Latinos in Washington, DC, who according to the 2010 Census represent 9.1% of the population, not including those undocumented who didn’t fill the Census form but still pay taxes to the city. Historically Washington, DC, has been known as a Black & White city or even as the chocolate city, and has never had an elected Latino official, ever. Hopefully that will change this year.
Who is Joshua Lopez?
Quick facts according to his Joshua Lopez website:
- Joshua is a native Washingtonian, raised by a single mother.
- He was a member of the Latin American Youth Center, where he was an advocate against youth violence.
- He served as a youth board commissioner on the DC Blue Ribbon on Youth Safety and Juvenile Justice Reform.
- He served on the DC Youth Advisory Council.
- He graduated from the Maya Angelou Public Charter High School.
- A History major at the University of the District of Columbia.
- Summer intern at then Ward 4 Council member Adrian Fenty, who hired him later as a Constituent Service Specialist, and later as Legislative Research Analyst on the Committee on Human Services.
- When Fenty decided to run for Mayor, Joshua was hired to serve as his Latino Liaison and Ward 5 campaign coordinator.
- He was also the Deputy Campaign Manager for Muriel Bowser’s Ward 4 city council campaign.
- Joshua was hired as the Project manager at Gateway Georgia Avenue Community Development Corporation, a small non-profit that advocates on behalf of small businesses along the Georgia Avenue NW.
- He was appointed to the Latino Commission on Community Development and was elected as both ANC for 4d01 and as the first vice president of the Ward 4 Democrats.
- In 2010, he was the Ward 4 coordinator for Mayor Fenty’s reelection campaign.
Photo from Joshua Lopez Facebook
Why Joshua Lopez
In 2010 I wrote about the D.C. mayoral elections and expressed my views on the work done by former Mayor Adrian Fenty, the firing of teachers and the increasing gentrification of this city.
It would be unfair not to admit that Washington, DC, has improved as a city in many aspects. But the social costs of that process have been painful for many who had to leave, this now beautified but expensive city.
Photo and videos Carlos A. Quiroz
More than the “latino candidate”, I see on Joshua Lopez an example of the importance of city governments supporting hard-working families (and immigrants in his case) with good education and affordable housing opportunities, so that parents can do what they are supposed to, and kids can grow to become productive citizens.
Based on his life experiences, I trust that Joshua Lopez will continue being a good leader for this city. So I wish Joshua the best in this election, and I suggest those of you who want to elect him as the new D.C. At-Large Councilmember, to get involved and spread the word.
Meet his mother
About the April 26th election
Explained by Martin Austermuhle, senior editor for DCist.com and the author of Four26:
The April 26 Special Election will be to fill the seat once held by D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown. It’s an At-Large seat.
Four of the D.C. Council’s 13 members are elected At-Large, which means that they’re chosen by everyone in the city. Two of the At-Large seats are set aside for minority parties. Currently, Michael A. Brown and David Catania occupy those seats (they’re both registered Independents). Brown, as council chair, occupies the third of the At-Large seats, while Brown’s old seat is currently held by Sekou Biddle, who was selected to fill the seat until the Special Election. (More of that in the “Process” section.)
Whomever wins on April 26 won’t hold the seat for a full term — only what was left of Brown’s original term. So, on top of campaigning now, they’ll have to campaign again next year. And with the District’s primaries likely getting moved up to the first half of 2012, they’re really only going to have a few months to settle in and start working before challengers start emerging from the woodwork.
I will post a video interview with candidate Bryan Weaver in my next blog.