May 2016


Washington City Paper’s Loose Lips took notice of our endorsements in the D.C. Democratic Primary: “In a potential sign of left-wing discontent with Muriel Bowser, progressive group D.C. for Democracy endorsed four challengers to Bowser-affiliated D.C. Council candidates last week.” While DC4D has been mentioned a number of times in the press, I believe this is the first time we have been the subject of the piece. Too bad LL didn’t see fit to mention any of the issues on which we based our endorsements.

We have an excellent chance of electing our endorsed candidates– but only if you volunteer at this critical time. Please be sure to respond to our campaign survey.

Yesterday, we wrapped up our Maryland Primary campaign, which was both sweet and bitter. We shared in the joy of electing Jamie Raskin the next Congressman from the 8th district, and we shared the sadness of defeat in the races to elect Donna Edwards and Joseline Pena-Melnyk. We congratulate all our endorsed candidates for engaging in the incredibly difficult work of running for office.

I am so proud of DC for Democracy for being a visible part of these campaigns, all of which were groundbreaking and expanded the progressive movement in Maryland. DC4D recruited at least 26 volunteers who knocked on doors or made phone calls for our candidates, proving we don’t just “tweet the tweet,” we walk the walk.

Special recognition goes to Jonathan Silverman, our Membership Chair, who served as our de facto Maryland Field Director. Jonathan put in more time than anybody else into these campaigns, played an instrumental role in organizing volunteers to campaign in Virginia, and was by and large, DC4D’s face in Maryland. Jerry Clark would be so proud of Jonathan!

I am thrilled that we helped elect Jamie Raskin to the US Congress. On multiple occasions, Jamie recognized the contribution DC4D made to his campaign. In Jamie we have an exceptional progressive who is principled and passionate, yet works with people of different beliefs to get things done. He will be a major force in getting money out of politics and pushing for public financing of campaigns at the national level.

Jamie made this commitment in writing: “If I am elected to Congress from the 8th Congressional District in Maryland, I will go to the U.S. House as a passionate champion for complete political democracy, equal rights and statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”

Jamie, we’ll be counting on you!

Thanks to everybody who came last night for a very special endorsement meeting that began with Chuck Hicks, Barbara Helmick, Dan Wedderburn and others sharing their thoughts about our dear friend and former Chair, Jerry Clark.

We are particularly grateful to the members who volunteered their efforts to make last night a success: Brian Hart, Lynda Laughlin and Linda Benesch for serving as election inspectors, and Scott Burbridge for keeping time.

Following a lively endorsement discussion, we voted to endorse the following candidates running in the DC Democratic Primary:

Eleanor Holmes Norton for U.S. Delegate (with 97.5% of the vote)
Franklin Garcia for Shadow Representative (with 94.7% of the vote)
Robert White for At-Large Council (with 95.5% of the vote)
Leon Andrews for Ward 4 Council (with 79.4% of the vote)
Vince Gray for Ward 7 Council (with 66.7% of the vote, counting 2nd choice votes, using modified Instant Runoff voting)
Trayon White for Ward 8 Council (with 87.2% of the vote)

We voted to make no endorsement in the Ward 2 race (with 81.1% of the vote).

Congresswoman Norton and Shadow Representative Garcia are running uncontested in the primary. Robert White, Leon Andrews, Vince Gray and Trayon White, on the other hand, are in hotly contested races where DC for Democracy members can make a difference.

Given our small size and limited resources, we would like to focus our efforts based on our members’ interests. Please fill out this survey so that we can make an informed decision.

And please visit the candidates’ websites to learn more:

Robert White (At-Large Council)
Leon Andrews (Ward 4 Council)
Vince Gray (Ward 7 Council)
Trayon White (Ward 8 Council)

We’re going to have our work cut out for us!

As you may have heard, Jerry Clark passed away last Saturday at the Virginia Hospital Center. Jerry has been seriously ill since a fall in January, and has been in and out of hospitals and rehab centers. He was cared for by his devoted family (sister Melinda Rider and her husband Bob, niece Aron Rider and her spouse, Amy Smith), as well as by a loving circle of friends, including many DC for Democracy members.

Jerry guided DC for Democracy as Political Director ( 2008 - 2010), as Chair (2010 - 2013), as Political Director since then, and as one of our most active steering committee members the whole time. Jerry left a lasting mark on DC for Democracy and leaves a void that cannot be filled. And to many of us, Jerry was a dear personal friend as well as a colleague and fellow activist in the progressive movement. I will miss his calm, measured voice on the phone, his gentle smile, his sagacious advice. He approached politics on the level of grand strategy, yet fully embraced the grunt work, from canvassing to standing at the polls on election day. Antony’s words in Julius Caesar come to mind: “His life was gentle, and the elements mixed so well in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, ‘This was a man.’”

We will set aside some time at our April Meetup and Endorsement vote to remember Jerry. Unfortunately, we have much business on the agenda, so it will be a limited amount of time. Jerry’s family is planning a major event in July, when Jerry would have celebrated his 75th birthday. We are considering having an informal event within a week or so where people can gather together to remember Jerry and toast his memory. We will keep you informed.

A MESSAGE FROM JERRY’S NIECE, ARON

Jerry N. Clark died peacefully tonight in the presence of Melinda (sister), Amy, and me. I am so grateful for all of your support and love, as I know Jerry was as well. We will not have an immediate memorial service, but will wait and celebrate his 75th birthday in July as he intended, in great style with a lot of family and friends.

Jerry graduated from Burris School in Muncie, IN in 1959. He received an AB from Princeton University, a JD from the University of Chicago and completed his doctoral studies in Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He was an assistant in the Department of Justice under Elliott Richardson but spent the major portion of his career as the Executive Director of the United Mineworkers Pension and Trust Funds. Jerry was active in Washington politics, gay and lesbian rights and had long led the effort to achieve statehood for the District of Columbia. (We want to know more about specific organizations, titles, amd years of service; please email with any factual details).

Should you wish to remember Jerry a gift to the following organization would be appropriate:
Whitman-Walker Health
Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center
1701 14th ST, NW
Washington DC 20009

Thanks for your thoughts and support over the past three months. We will be looking for photos, anecdotes, anything to help us both remember Jerry and learn even more about his work and influence with each and every one of you. Please share with others who should know.

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