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Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 01/24/2011

Sekou Biddle: The accidental insider

By Martin Austermuhle

Four months ago, no one really knew Sekou Biddle. Now, after a tightly contested appointment process by the D.C. Democratic State Committee and a recent fundraiser attended by Mayor Vince Gray and a host of local power-brokers, Biddle is the consummate insider, a guy who has been groomed for elected office more because he'll be an easy yes vote than because he's qualified for it. It's enough to make anyone's head spin, Biddle's included.

"I don't think we'll ever get beneath the outsider-insider thing, because it's a story that's easy to tell when you don't worry about the details," Biddle told me late last week as he followed the arc of his career from education advocate to an interim at-large member on the D.C. Council who has four months to fend of challenges from as many as 15 contenders in the April 26 special election to fill the seat once occupied by D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown.

Sitting in his sparsely decorated office in the Wilson Building, Biddle still seems perplexed by his overnight transformation -- he wishes that a reality show had been based around his ascendancy to the council, if only to correct misconceptions -- but strongly fights back at any indication that he got where he is because of the people he knows, rather than the work he's done. Biddle's advocacy and activism for education -- which started with a stint at Teach for America, moved on to the widely acclaimed KIPP charter school movement and culminated in his 2007 election to the D.C. State Board of Education representing wards 3 and 4 -- coupled with a little bit of chance, has put him where he is today.

[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle's post at]

Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Martin Austermuhle  | January 24, 2011; 12:06 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, Local blog network, Vincent Gray  
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I don't dislike Biddle, I dislike how he was put into office in an undemocratic and paranoid fashion. If it was an open electoral process,it's entirely possible that I would vote for him over others. However, since he's been tainted with this bad selection process, I will vote for someone else. I'll also never vote for Kwame or Gray, because of the way they've sought to stifle any diversity in the government.

Posted by: blankspace | January 26, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

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