Diane Williams, Tony Williams, Paul Savage,
Asantewa Foster, Virginia Williams
SEPTEMBER 29, 2005
HILLCREST RECREATION CENTER
Let me begin by thanking all of my supporters and everyone for coming out here today.
Seven years ago, on beautiful Kingman Island, not far from here, I began my candidacy for Mayor of the District of Columbia. Most of us remember the state of our city on that day.
We were under the thumb of the Control Board. We were bankrupt - our finances a wreck.
We lost 5,000 residents every year. Too many of our agencies languished in receivership.
City services, like garbage pickup and street paving, were abysmal. Potholes sat unfilled. Our DMV was long on lines, short on service. Telephones would ring unanswered, and customer service was unheard of.
Revenues were down. Spending was out of control. Our downtown was a ghost town, a place people feared after dark. As a city, we were closed for business. Homes were abandoned. Crime was sky high. And, worst of all, the reins of city government were being pulled by Congress - instead of by citizens in charge of their own destiny.
But we rose up. We harnessed the energy of many. We abandoned old ideas and ushered in new ones.
We put our house back in order. We sent the control board packing, two years ahead of schedule.
Agencies emerged from receivership. We balanced eight budgets in a row. We now have a large surplus, and a $300 million rainy day fund to protect citizens if the economy turns sour. We repaired our relationship with the federal government.
We returned our rightful elected leaders to the Wilson Building.
City services rose from the basement to the top floor. We launched the Mayor's Call Center, which has responded to more than 1 million service requests. We went from junk bond status to an "A" bond rating. We created thousands of new homeowners. We boosted our number of police to 3,900, trained them better and reduced violent crime by 34 percent. We created the best municipal Web site in the country.
Together, we lifted up a city that had fallen into disrepair. Together, we spread economic development across all eight wards. Together, we created a government that actually responds to citizen requests. And together, we built a financial house with a firm foundation.
A few weeks ago, our city was among the first to step forward and reach out to the people of New Orleans -offering food, shelter, health care, job assistance, education, and most of all, compassion. Seven years ago, such a mobilization was impossible.
As your Mayor, I have led this city to the threshold of greatness. We have opened the door, and prepared this city to walk through it. But I have come to tell you today that I will not be the one to lead you through that door.
I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to a third term as mayor of the District of Columbia.
Although I've been your mayor for two terms, my service to the District began in 1995, when I was appointed CFO. At the end of my current term, I will have devoted the last 11 years of my life to making this city a better place. It's the toughest challenge I've ever had - but it's also the one I've loved the most.
My biggest reason for not serving a third term is the feeling that it's time for a change. Time for me to begin a new chapter in my life and to look for new challenges.
People say: "Why now?" I felt strongly that it was unfair to the people of this city to begin the political process so early. But I also don't want my future plans to cloud the landscape of our great city.
I want to allow the candidates to make their case to the people as to why they should be elected. I hope that the candidates offer specifics - I hope they put forward concrete ideas about what they would do if they were Mayor. People should listen closely. I know I will.
As I look around the city, I am incredibly proud of what we've accomplished.
New retail opportunities for our residents - places like Home Depot, Gallery Place, Best Buy, Container Store, new Giant food stores in Brentwood and Columbia Heights, a Storehouse furniture in Ward 1, and a revitalized neighborhood in Barracks Row.
We opened the new convention center and we're redeveloping the site of the old one.
On the horizon, we have the Southeast Federal Center, a Costco in Fort Lincoln, a new grocery store in Ward 8, a Target in Columbia Heights, two Harris Teeter grocery stores, a new National Portrait Gallery and the Newseum in Penn Quarter.
This year alone, we've opened new affordable housing at Henson Ridge in Ward 8, Capitol Gateway in Northeast, and the Fairmont Apartments in Ward 1.
We've got our waterfront plan that begins the Anacostia River's renewal and rebirth. It's my belief that the Anacostia River will be one of the great urban rivers in our country and a symbol of our city's renewal.
Adding to that renewal is baseball. I fought hard and succeeded in bringing a baseball team back to our city after a 34 year absence. Today, the Washington Nationals have surpassed expectations, and baseball is thriving in the District of Columbia.
In a few years, a new ballpark will rise on the shores of the Anacostia. The ballpark will be an economic engine - creating jobs, and luring fans from near and far.
But the ballpark is just one piece in a mosaic of a revitalized Anacostia waterfront. One day this waterfront will be the most beautiful riverfront in the country.
There's never been a day when I've been Mayor alone.
From my staff to my agency directors to my deputy mayors, I will leave office confident that I appointed people who left this city better than they found it.
I'm grateful to my friends, supporters, staff and - yes- even my detractors, for helping me bring about the transformation of our magnificent city.
We have 15 months - yes, 15 months - left on this road. There's still more work to be done. Just yesterday, I shared with you a list of 10 priorities for the coming months.
My "New Communities" and "Way to Work" initiatives will do more to rebuild some of our poorest neighborhoods, and provide jobs for people who live there. The incredible suffering we've seen unfold throughout the Gulf Coast is a vivid reminder of continued inequity among races and incomes in our country. My vision for our city is a healthy "stew" of white, black, brown - of all backgrounds and income levels, living side-by-side. I firmly believe that prosperity in our city can benefit and will benefit all residents.
In a few months we're breaking ground on a new ballpark that will anchor and reinvigorate a corner of our city that today is unknown to most residents.
We need a new library system - starting with a new central library that is an inviting and safe place that's an inspiration for people who want to learn.
Our schools, our universities, and our libraries are the backbone of instruction and teaching. We must build them up if we want our children to succeed.
Over the next year, I want our city to take more steps towards bridging the "digital divide." Together, we're going to make it easier for people of any background to harness the incredible potential of the Internet.
My priorities also include building a new hospital so residents in Wards 6, 7 and 8 don't have to travel to Northwest for medical care.
I want the Council to approve my crime bill, which would target prostitution, domestic violence and gangs.
In January 2007, when my term is up, I want to leave this city even better than it is today.
Thank you, and God bless you.
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Government of the District of Columbia
Executive Office of the Mayor
Office of Communications
Biography — Mayor Anthony A. Williams
Anthony A. Williams began serving as the fourth Mayor of the District
of Columbia on January 4, 1999, 25 years after the city was granted Home
Rule in 1974. On January 2, 2003, Mayor Williams was inaugurated and began
serving his second term in office. His second term extends through
During his first term in office, Mayor Williams helped spark a
renaissance in Washington, DC that has included unprecedented economic
development. He and his administration have consistently produced a
balanced budget, while generating economic stability, increased affordable
housing and revitalized city government operations. One of the
cornerstones of Mayor Williams' tenure has been creating a city government
that engages citizens through town hall meetings and Citizen
In his March 2005 State of the District Address, Mayor Williams
launched two innovative programs: the "New Communities"
initiative, aimed at transforming the District's most distressed
neighborhoods, and the "Way to Work Act," which seeks to help
the city's chronically unemployed get jobs and keep them. Mayor Williams
also announced a budget for 2006 that provides almost $100 million in tax
reductions, much of which will benefit the District's neediest
In December 2004, Mayor Williams was elected president of the
Washington, DC-based National League of Cities. The National League of
Cities is the oldest and largest national organization representing
municipal governments throughout the United States. its mission is to
strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity, leadership, and
governance that work in partnership with 49 state municipal leagues.
Mayor Williams was elected Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Washington
Council of Governments (COG) in January, 2005. As an organization of local
governments in and around Washington, DC, COG's mission is to enhance the
quality of life and competitive advantages of the Washington metropolitan
region. COG provides a forum for consensus building and policy-making,
implementing intergovernmental policies, plans, and programs; and
supporting the region as an expert information resource.
Anthony Williams served as the District of Columbia Chief Financial
Officer (CFO) from October 1995 through June 1998. Appointed by former DC
Mayor Marion Barry to lead the District to financial recovery, Williams
restored fiscal accountability for District agencies and balanced the
city's budget. His work put the city on track for the return to
self-government -- two years earlier than projected -- and delivered a
surplus of $185 million in fiscal year 1997. Under his leadership, the
District achieved significant improvements in cash management, budget
execution, and revenue collections.
Prior to joining District government, Mayor Williams was appointed by
President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the first CFO
for the US Department of Agriculture. Mr. Williams served as the Deputy
State Comptroller of Connecticut, where he was responsible for the
management of 250 separate funds and the state's budget and accounting
services. He has also served as Executive Director of the Community
Development Agency in St. Louis, Missouri; Assistant Director of the
Community Development Agency in St. Louis, Missouri, Assistant Director of
the Boston (MA) Redevelopment Authority; and Adjunct Professor at Columbia
University (NY). He was elected to the New Haven (CT) Board of Aldermen,
where he served as President Pro-Tempore.
Born on July 28, 1951, in Los Angeles, California. Williams is the
adopted son of Virginia and the late Lewis Williams, and is one of eight
children. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in
Political Science from Yale College, earned a juris doctorate from Harvard
Law and a master's degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of
Government at Harvard University. He also served in the US Air
Mayor Williams is a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church and several
social service organizations, including 100 Black Men, Leadership
Washington, and the Washington Urban League. He and his wife, Diane, live
in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of the District. They have one daughter,
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Adrian Fenty’s Statement Regarding Mayor Williams’ Decision Not To Seek
|For immediate release
September 29, 2005
| Contact: Alec Evans
I want to thank the Mayor for his years of public service; look forward
to working with him for the rest of his term and wish him well in his future endeavors. In particular, I want to applaud the Mayor for
helping to turn around the city’s finances. The city has made progress, and I credit Mayor Williams for a lot of our success.
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NORTON PRAISES WILLIAMS TENURE AS MAYOR
Washington, DC-Mayor Anthony Williams called Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) earlier today to say he was going to announce that he would not seek another term and thanked her for the work they had done together. She released the following statement today.
"Tony Williams' admirable record of tangible accomplishments as Mayor of this city, speak best for him as he leaves office. His work over two terms shows what one man can do to lead a city shaken by economic crisis to stability and confidence in its future."
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Council of the District of Columbia
The John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2005
For Further Information Contact:
Donna M. Cooper, Staff
Committee on Government Operations
Councilmember Orange to Mayor Williams: "Job Well Done!"
Councilmember Vincent Bernard Orange, Sr., released the following
statement, immediately following Mayor Anthony A. Williams, formal
announcement, that he would not seek a 3rd term:
"Mayor Williams' overall performance, as the Mayor of the nation's
capital, will most definitely capture its place in the District's, as well
as, the nation's history. Prior to Mayor Williams being elected, the
fiscal status of the District could be characterized as extremely dismal.
The government of the District of Columbia's overall financial,
operational, and administrative functions were transferred to the District
of Columbia Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority
("Control Board"). During this time, Mayor Williams was
appointed as the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia, and
this appointment led to a significant turning point in the economic state
of affairs of the city.
Upon being elected Mayor, Williams expressed his commitment to
elevating the city, both socially and economically. That pledge has been
honored. Through his leadership and fiscal guidance, the District of
Columbia was able to achieve 8 consecutive balanced budgets and rid itself
of the Control Board oversight. Under Williams' leadership, the District
had gone from worst to first in technology, nationally; from "junk
bond" status to Grade A Bond status; and from no true seat of
government, to re-securing our historical home, the John A. Wilson
Building. Through his commitment, and established experience, Mayor
Williams has positioned the District of Columbia to remain fiscally
responsible and has opened the door for those that follow him to address
affordable housing, better access to health care, education, and community
development in areas of the city that need it the most. Without a sound
and stable financial portfolio, true social change could not be possible.
The groundwork has been laid. Williams, along with the support and
oversight provided by the Council of the District of Columbia, is leaving
the city in a very solvent state. We now have $1.2 billion dollars in the
bank and have witnessed consecutive surpluses. We, as a city, has just
come of a $+300 million dollar surplus and are looking as a $400 million
dollar surplus, at the end of fiscal year 2005.
Mayor Williams, "Thank you for a job well done!"
I pledge to Mayor Williams, and the residents of the District of
Columbia that I will take the District to another level, while maintaining
fiscal responsibility. The District of Columbia will be a place where all
residents can prosper, feel confident that the streets are safe, enjoy
basic governmental services, obtain affordable housing and healthcare, get
jobs right here in the District of Columbia, and send our children to
schools that are conducive to learning and that provide a quality