WASHINGTON, D.C., March 13, 2014 – The members of DC NOW, the District of Columbia’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, voted to endorse Councilmember Tommy Wells in the April 1 Mayoral Primary.
Says DC NOW President Susan Mottet:
“Now that concrete information about Mayor Gray’s involvement in an illegal shadow campaign has come to light, many of his supporters will be looking for a better candidate to support.”
“Tommy Wells is the best choice for a wide variety of reasons:
- “Not only is he the only candidate that didn’t accept any money from Jeffrey Thompson, he is the only candidate that won’t accept corporate or special interest money at all. He can be counted on to represent the interests of his constituents, not corporate contributors or have his administration get mired in ethical scandals.
- “He is a strong leader. He is not afraid to stand up to the Fire Chief and the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety when they make excuses for poor performance that endangers the public. And after listening compassionately to dozens of rape survivors testify about MPD incompetently handling their cases, Councilmember Wells worked toward a strong reform bill that creates the infrastructure, transparency, oversight, and accountability needed to fix the broken system.”
Last month, DC NOW members also endorsed Councilmember Mary Cheh for the Ward 3 seat, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie for the Ward 5 seat, Councilmember Anita Bonds for an At-Large seat, and Charles Allen for the Ward 6 seat.
When voting, members considered answers to candidate questionnaires (available here, with ratings), public statements, and service records.
DC NOW members were particularly disheartened by Mayor Gray’s questionnaire responses pertaining to public safety (sexual assault legislation, B20-417) and athletic opportunities for girls in DCPS. On the sexual assault legislation, Mayor Gray accepted the Crowell and Moring whitewashed conclusion that the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) did not suffer serious problems with how they handled rape cases without carefully reading the content of the report; in fact, this report contains the details that show that the MPD failed to document and properly investigate the vast majority of the 171 rape cases which Human Rights Watch alleged were not documented or investigated. Mayor Gray also did not listen carefully to Crowell and Moring’s testimony that while MPD did technically document some of these cases, they could not say that MPD appropriately investigated them or investigated them at all, with the exception of a few. DC NOW President Mottet said, “DC NOW is not impressed by Mayor Gray's eagerness to accept a cover up of systemic problems rather than fixing them.”
On athletic opportunities for girls in DC Public Schools (DCPS), Mayor Gray expressed his lack of awareness that DCPS does not provide equal opportunities to girls, despite it being well-documented. The DC NOW President sent Mayor Gray this Washington City Paper article about the fact that DCPS still does not comply with Title IX, featuring a story of a girls team that has to find off-campus public fields for practice and games because the one field the school has is dedicated to the boys team. DC NOW also sent Mayor Gray the Title IX complaint that the National Women’s Law Center sent to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Division of Civil Rights that specifies ways that DCPS fails to comply with Title IX. DCPS has not formally settled the complaint by remedying non-compliance. Mottet was told by the Gray campaign that she would be contacted by an official from the administration. To date, there has been no follow-up by the Gray administration.
DC NOW has 716 members in the District of Columbia across all eight wards.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. DC NOW is the District of Columbia chapter of national NOW.