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Kathy Patterson, Democratic candidate for
Ward 3 Councilmember in the
September 10, 2002 Primary
Campaign kickoff speech
June 1, 2002

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Kathy Patterson 2002 Campaign Kick-off
June 1, 2002
Oyster Bilingual School

Introduction by Master of Ceremonies, Patrick Leibach:

Good morning. Thank you for coming to my mother’s campaign announcement, especially considering the ungodly hour. I believe that the last time I introduced her as a candidate for this position I was just finishing fourth grade. If I remember correctly, I said something like "This is my mommy. Please vote for her because she is a really good mommy." While this plug is still true, I believe that at this point, there are more relevant reasons why she should be elected to a third term.

As a teenager, though, I do not agree with much of what she has done. Case in point: the teenage driving law. While this may not be, in her mind, the most important piece of legislation she has introduced, it is the one that has had the most direct effect on me. I just barely received my license in time to avoid the lengthy learner’s period but, even so, I was still restricted by a driving curfew. Not to mention the general curfew for minors that she supported.

For two years, I chafed under these restrictions, vowing to take my revenge come the next election. In fact, until recently, I was planning to support one of her opponents. But now that I am 18, and no longer affected by these laws, I am damn glad that my wise councilmember Kathy Patterson has enacted legislation to keep those dangerous whippersnappers off the road. I see my 15-year old sister glaring at me.

Another example of my mother’s good work is illustrated by the comments I frequently hear from friends. "I saw your mom on TV last night, and she looked really angry." While anger is not normally a part of her personality, I believe that in her job, it is a necessity. There is much to be angry about in Washington, DC, and I am encouraged by her passion and willingness to fight for those issues that she deems important.

I’ve said enough, and I want to go back to bed, so I’ll leave you with this: vote for my mommy because she is a really good mommy and because she keeps dangerous teenage drivers off the roads of DC. I give you my mother and councilmember, Kathy Patterson.

Councilmember Patterson’s Statement

Thank you Patrick. And as a token of my affection and appreciation, I’d like to present you with this voter registration form, now that I have a better sense of what you might do with it. Patrick graduates Friday from Maret and is headed, as his shorts indicate, to Middlebury this fall. And for the record, there are some good teenage drivers. I have one in my family; I anticipate having another a year from now.

Thanks for being here. I’d like to start by acknowledging and apologizing for the worst mistake of my political career – my failure four years ago to introduce my husband, so let me introduce and acknowledge Dale Leibach, door-to-door and sign man extraordinaire – and thank him for the good work his sign team did last night. And our daughter, Gillian Leibach, the prospective teenaged driver.

I’d like to say something very particular to those who are here today – and I see a lot of you – who were also there for our campaign kickoff at Janney Elementary School eight years ago.

And it’s this: you have made a difference in the District of Columbia. We’ve made a difference. Your hard work putting me on the Council contributed to getting this city out of its financial crisis. A few of you know the details – the budget debates that went til 3, 4 o’clock in the morning. The behind-closed-doors, head-knocking meetings with the control board. My being at the table where the tough decisions were made, made a difference. And that means that all of your shoe leather, and your muscle power, and you phone calls, eight years ago, to put me on the Council, made a difference in the progress the District has made. Everyone in this community and across the District owes you their thanks, and I want you to know that. We’ve made a difference.

There are other ways, large and small, that your work to put me on the Council has made a difference. And I’d like to share a few examples, especially of things that aren’t well known. When you go to the polls on September 10 you will cast your vote on new voting machines. These state of the art machines will be there because three years ago the Government Operations

Committee, that I chaired, put additional money in the capital budget for the Board of Elections and Ethics to begin purchasing new voting. And we took that action to replace the punchcard machines long before any of us knew what a hanging chad was.

The city’s chief technology officer likes to say that we’ve gone from worst to first in technology. All you have to do to see the truth in that is to go onto the DC government website, at -- one of the nation’s best municipal websites. My legislation created the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and our oversight and partnership with the technology officer ensured that the District was ready – and successful – during Y2K.

Today we have in the District the D.C. Labor Management Partnership Council to promote better working relationships between front line workers and managers throughout the District government – and there are agency-level partnership councils in place or coming into place in every operating agency. The Partnership Council exists today because of a partnership I formed with former city administrator Michael Rogers and our labor leaders.

At the end of my first year on the Council I tallied up the number of agencies that were subjects of oversight hearings held by the Council. That total was just 11 agencies out of some 70 agencies. Today -- and for the last three years -- Council committees conduct performance reviews of every District agency as part of our budget process, before the mayor submits a budget.

The issue that led me to the Council in 1994 was the need for stronger public schools. The school budget has nearly doubled in the last seven years even though enrollment has declined. There are some problems that money can solve, and we are now paying our teachers significantly more, and paying them competitively and that’s a major step forward. We continue to have excellent public schools in this ward, Oyster among them, but they need funding stability and leadership. We have a long way to go to have quality education in every classroom across the District.

For the last 17 months I have been chairman of the Council’s Judiciary Committee, with oversight responsibility for public safety agencies. In that relatively short time we have enacted legislation to overhaul and reform administrative law in the District; we’ve approved an Innocence Protection Act to permit post-conviction DNA testing. At the legislative session next week I’ll present bills to the full Council to improve child abuse investigations and another to permit the civil commitment of persons charged with violent crimes but unable to stand trial due to mental retardation.

On Monday the mayor will sign the Omnibus Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, a major undertaking that we began in partnership after September 11 to give the District the tools we need to prepare for and to deal with any future terrorist incidents.

One of the major challenges ahead has to do with the city’s preparedness for disaster. Four months before the floods of last August, and five months before September 11, the Judiciary Committee provided our Emergency Management Agency with additional resources and additional staff, that may be why the agency’s director, Peter LaPorte, is here today!

One thing I am proud of in my work on the Council is increasing the effectivness, and the influence, of the legislature. We have better oversight than ever before. A challenge for me in my role as the Council’s point person on emergency preparedness is to push that envelope further – to use my position to push our federal partners to provide more and better intelligence information, more and equitable federal resources, to ensure that the nation’s capital is a safe place to live, to work, to raise families. If there is any single challenge that compels me to seek re-election today it is the critical importance of ensuring that we – and the federal government – have done everything possible to keep residents of the District of Columbia safe and secure.

It is now my pleasure to acknowledge and introduce special guests starting with my colleagues, and invite them to give greetings. [Fraternal Order of Police; Local 36, International Association of Fire Fighters; Gertrude Stein Democratic Club]

Two final introductions – I introduced my family earlier and would like to acknowledge my other family, those who work with me at the Council. ….And my former chief of staff, now campaign chairman, JoAnne Ginsberg. Campaign manager Diane Shinn. And my former colleague and very good friend, who is demonstrating that friendship by serving as my finance committee chair, John Ray.

That concludes the speechmaking – the next four months will be busy and I ask for your help – in doing door to door, holding events, and at the polls September 10. This afternoon we have volunteers going out to hang more signs and if you’d like to join that effort, come on down. Thank you.

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