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In race for council chairman, who is Mr. Economic Development?

Ann Marimow

In the race for D.C. Council chairman, who can claim the title of Mr. Economic Development?

It's a question that seems sure to surface often as council member Kwame Brown (D-At Large) and former council member Vincent Orange compare records in their Democratic primary contest to succeed Vincent C. Gray.

Sitting side by side at an election forum Wednesday night hosted by the progressive group, D.C. for Democracy, Brown and Orange made their respective pitches: Brown as a fighter for the voiceless who has held developers accountable for their promises and Orange as a mature, experienced legislator who helped bring development to Ward 5, an area of the city he represented for two terms.

"I am Mr. Economic Development," Orange said, flagging his role in bringing
a Home Depot and Giant grocery store to the ward. "I was there before Mr.
Brown ever came to the council."

For his part, Brown stressed his citywide record as chairman of the
council's Economic Development Committee. As important as attracting new businesses,
he said, is holding companies to their promises to hire District residents
and negotiating appropriate tax incentives.

"I'm not Mr. Giveaway," Brown said.

Brown and Orange also presented something of a stylistic contrast to
the crowd of about 80 people from D.C. for Democracy, whose members will vote to endorse candidates in local races later this month. Orange kept his suit jacket on while Brown went jacketless, his shirtsleeves rolled up as they spoke in an 11th-floor conference room at the Judiciary Square building.

By Ann Marimow  |  June 2, 2010; 9:06 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Ann E. Marimow , D.C. Council  
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Orange should not stress economic development. That is like handing in your test (he was there for 8 years) and saying look how I got those two right out of 20. Ward 5 for all its residential power has very little development.

Orange is trying to go up a steep slippery hill with skates.

Posted by: 411Tibby | June 3, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I think its scary Mr. Organge is "Mr. Economic Development" when he had an campaign office that he owns on South Dakota Avenue that sat abandoned since he ran his last campaign for Mayor. It's been an eyesore - especially to us that live next to the property.

Posted by: 1tenforall | June 3, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

kwame is kept out of almost every major economic project in the city by the council for a reason - he ruins things! he runs to the press in the midst of negotiations to tout his record.

its all about kwame. dear lord - the guy can talk for 30 minutes and not say a thing. when will evans announce?! he is the only one with the guts to vote NO on this jacked up budget!

i dont know who mr. economic development is (evans?) but it is NOT kwame.

Posted by: onthecontrary | June 3, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I was at the forum last night and am still undecided between Fenty and Gray, and in Ward 1 between Graham and Weaver, but Kwame Brown won me over last night. We need development in the District -- retail, residential, and office -- but we need to do it right.

The District should be attractive enough to developers now that we don't have to give away the store to get them to build here. And we need to be able to say no to developers about projects that don't work in an urban setting. I don't know about the Giant in Ward 5, but think of how sweet it would be if the Home Depot had been built like it was a part of and valued the surrounding neighborhood. Instead we get this alien and alienating big box completely cut off from everything around it. Ugh. Thanks, Vincent Orange.

Posted by: 20009matt | June 3, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

While the question of economic development is a reasonable one, I think the bigger one to ask is who can lead this council and who can represent the city (all 8 wards).

I really wish we could move the council chair race beyond just the question of who did how much development and when.

Honestly, this seems like the same point used over and over and over by the Orange campaign.

It’s getting old.

There are a host of issues that need to be addressed concerning this city. Schools, crime, affordable housing, etc…etc..

I feel that Orange’s time has come and gone and I don’t see what he could bring to the table at this point.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | June 3, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

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