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Willie F. Wilson
Democratic Candidate for Mayor in the 
September 10, 2002, Primary Election
Announcement Speech
August 12, 2002

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Announcement Speech Of Rev. Willie F. Wilson 
Candidate for Mayor of the District of Columbia 
Monday, August 12, 2002 
11:00 AM 19th and C Street, SE Washington 

DC Good Morning, Brothers and Sisters! 

Good Morning Friends and Neighbors! 

Good Morning my fellow Washingtonians! 

Good Morning to all of Washington, DC! 

Good Morning! And indeed it is a good morning because it offers us a new start, new opportunities and new possibilities. It is a good morning because with it comes fresh ideas and a new zeal for getting things done. And, it is good because we are here together to take a stand for our city and for ALL of the people of our city. 

As some of you may know, I have been in serious prayer and meditation over the past several weeks, anguishing over the plight of our city and considering a most critical decision. I have come to this place today because circumstances, events and situations combined in such a way that I am compelled to act. It is time to act! 

Today, I declare my candidacy for the office of Mayor. I want to be your Mayor because you deserve a leader who is not so consumed with building buildings that he overlooks building people. You deserve a Mayor who is concerned and responsible about balancing the city's checkbook, but just as concerned and responsible in balancing the quality and delivery of services to all quadrants of the city. You deserve a leader who knows that it is not enough simply to build neighborhoods, but that we must be neighborly. You deserve a leader that inspires, envisions, and lives the principles that he espouses. You deserve a leader that has vision but also a leader that has courage. 

As your mayor, I will stand up and speak for the voiceless, the hopeless, the disappointed, the disgusted, and the hopeful people of our city. I will earnestly and forthrightly address the issues and respond to the concerns in the hearts and minds of our citizens about our city and
our future. 

Those who know me personally are well aware that for the entire 32 years that I have lived in this city, I have always rejected any notion of running for political office. However, when you look at my record, one might conclude that I have been running for office without "running for office" in the real sense of the words. I have counseled Washington leaders, provided resources and my time in support of good government, equal opportunity, and human rights. I firmly believe in democracy. I have participated in the political process as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, conducted voter registration drives, and encouraged others to become active civic participants. You have embraced me as a leader deserving your confidence, trust and support. So it is not for personal aggrandizement that I stand here today, neither is this a protest. I am here because I have the God-given ability to lead and I am compelled by the piercing lack of leadership presently to come forward and serve the people of this great city that I love and call home as your Mayor. I am running because I am dead serious about making our city a place where ALL of our citizens feel that they count.

In 1998 I took a stand, along with a majority of residents of this city, in support of the current Mayor - Mayor Williams. To my deep dismay it soon became apparent that Mayor Williams was not the leader we hoped for. 

Let's look back for a moment at the outcomes of Mayor Williams' failure to provide leadership:

In May 1999, four months after he took office, Mayor Anthony Williams haphazardly and flippantly proposed to move UDC, the city's only four-year educational institution that has provided quality education to residents for years, from upper Northwest to an undetermined
site in Southeast. He did so without discussion with or input from the community. He did not
even take the time to find out that the Northwest property did not belong to the District but to the federal government. We need a mayor who will ensure quality education for ALL of our citizens and full funding for the University of the District of Columbia.

I stand here today on the grounds of DC General Hospital, a site symbolic of Mayor Williams' lack of visionary leadership and his insensitivity to the needs and wishes of the citizens of the District of Columbia. When senior citizens, clergy and numerous community leaders and concerned doctors, nurses and citizens urged and pleaded with Mayor Williams to keep this most vitally needed hospital open, the Mayor unequivocally stated: "I am going to close DC General Hospital and if you don't like it, you know what you can do." Well, I don't like Mayor Williams impassionate, insensitive, hands-off, "asleep at the wheel" leadership and I know what I am going to do. I am running for Mayor of the District of Columbia in the September 10th Primary as a Democratic write-in candidate. What you can do as a voting citizen is write in my name, Willie Wilson, and take a stand for strong, compassionate, sensitive, hands-on, effective leadership.

He has demonstrated hands off, insensitivity in doing nothing to lessen the impact of spiraling
housing costs and rising real estate taxes that is driving many longtime low and moderate income residents out of the city and threatening many senior homeowners with foreclosure. We need a mayor who will make sure that housing is available for those who have AND those who do not have. It is time to make a change. 

Mayor Williams cut the summer jobs program in half. This is a program that over the years has helped thousands of our youth prepare for the work force and supplement their family incomes. We need a mayor with enough vision to ensure opportunity for all of our youth. It is time to make a change! 

The Mayor has adopted the slogan " One City, One Future" but has done nothing to foster unity and community spirit among the residents of our city. It is time to make a change! 

During Mayor William's term minority business contract opportunities have been drastically reduced. We need a mayor who will ensure that opportunity exists for all businesses, not just for some. It is time to make a change!

Mayor Williams closed Lorton reformatory without concern for the many wives, children and parents of the inmates now scattered in far away prisons all over the nation. Another display of insensitivity and unconcern. We need a mayor that will look out for all of our citizens - those who have made it and those who are struggling to make it. It is time to make a change! 

This mayor did not support a city council initiative to fight crime by putting more police officers on the street. We need a mayor who will not just talk about crime, but one who will move with urgency to do something about it. It is time to make a change! 

Mayor Williams supported the installation of an automobile raceway in the heart of Kingman
Park, a residential neighborhood in Northeast - sending deafening, disturbing noise and pollution in to the nearby homes of residents. We need a mayor that is concerned about all of our neighborhoods. It's time to make a change! 

In May of 2000 the City Council called for a special investigation of the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Administration (MRDDA), because Mayor Williams failed to provide appropriate services for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. It's time to make a change! 

In June 1999, the DC Office of Campaign Finance fined Mayor Williams for failing to report $40,000.00 that he earned from NationsBank and Arthur Andersen, during his first campaign. Williams denied wrongdoing then and he still denies wrongdoing now. He claimed naivete then, and he's trying to do the same thing now. It's time to make a change! 

In the last two years two of the department heads appointed by Williams were forced to resign because of the administration's failure to verify their qualifications. Such hands off, detached leadership is intolerable. It's time to make a change!

Mayor Williams used government employees and private donations raised through a non-profit to promote his decision to strip the residents of DC their Home Rule right to an elected Board of Education. It's time to make a change! 

In April this year, the DC Inspector General finally, after two years of investigation, concluded that Williams and his staff broke the law by raising $1.5 million from non-profits to pay for William's pet projects. It is time to make a change. Mayor Williams touts improved city services while city residents stand in line for hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles. IT IS TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE! 

Most recently, Mayor Williams refusal to accept full responsibility for the lawless fraud and senseless deception of his campaign petition drive and violation of his sworn oath as Mayor to uphold the laws of our city proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back for thousands of citizens across our city and for me. IT IS TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE!! 

I stand here today to offer you the opportunity to MAKE A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. 

As a strong, decisive leader and an advocate opportunity, justice and equality for all people, I am uniquely qualified to serve as your mayor. As a resident and leader in this city for 32 years, I have demonstrated high ethical standards, great organizational and management skills and a deep and compassionate concern for people.  

As pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church for 29 years I have developed creative, visionary programs that have been emulated and duplicated all over the nation. The state of Oklahoma has modeled its program for delinquent teenagers after the Union Temple Harambee House for Youth. I know the youth of our city. I love the youth of our city and have worked tirelessly with the public schools, the recreation department, the police department and the community to provide a brighter future for our youth. Our youth are our future - we must love them, protect them, educate them and prepare them. 

Because of my work in the city in rehabilitating thousands of substance abusers, ex-offenders; developing affordable rental housing and rebuilding the lives of many deemed incorrigible by society, I was selected by USA Today in 1985 as one of the Top Ten Most Valuable People in America. I am a man committed to working for all of the citizens. In 1997, former President Bill Clinton awarded Union Temple Baptist Church the Presidential Service Award, the highest award given by the White House for community service. 

I am a very capable, courageous, and well- prepared leader - ready, willing and able to lead with integrity, responsibility and accountability to all of the citizens of Washington, DC. 

As your Mayor, I will - first of all, uphold the Constitutional principle of Government for the people and by the people. I pledge to restore integrity and confidence in the Office of Mayor. I will prioritize the well being of our seniors, children and youth. I will be creative in providing leadership and directly involved in building community and ending the polarization that exists in our city. I will move with urgency in support of educational reforms so that every child, in every school, will have the opportunity to learn and develop. I will tackle the issues of public safety by promoting greater collaboration between community organizations, the faith community, schools and the Metropolitan Police Department. And, I will insist that more police officers be out on the streets in the neighborhoods. DC residents need jobs. I will work diligently and collaboratively with the private sector to increase job opportunities and expand business development. You can count on me to lead a government that is inclusive, innovative and responsive in addressing the needs and concerns of our citizens. 

As Mordecai said to Ester in the scriptures, God has brought me to the kingdom for just such a time as this. Everything I have accomplished in life was God's preparing me for this time. Yes, this is a great sacrifice for me - for my family, and my church family. But I am ready to pay the price. I love this city and I love the people so much that "Here I stand, I can do no other".

I am asking you - each and every one of you - the citizens of the District of Columbia, for your vote. I am asking you to go to the polls on September 10th and choose to take a stand for all of Washington by writing in Willie F. Wilson for Mayor! I am asking for your help. Tell your family, friends, and neighbors - it's time to make a change and we are the people who will do it. Together we will build a city that is the crown jewel for our country and a city that works for all its people. 

Today, I challenge Mayor Anthony Williams to engage in a series of debates before all of the people of our city - starting in Ward 8, the most forgotten part of our city, to address the serious issues that we are facing. I will be sending a letter to the Mayor's campaign immediately so that these debates can begin right away because time is short.

Finally, I say to the citizens of the District. YES, we know what the dream is. YES, we still share the vision of a vibrant, proud, prosperous, compassionate city where people - all people, can thrive. I am here and you are here because we still share the dream and we will never give up. We will never give up! We will . . . NEVER GIVE UP! 

Thank you and God Bless You All!

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