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
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
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 dc.gov -- 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
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
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
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.