by Marlene Berlin
The UDC Theater of the Arts in Van Ness seats 900. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s State of the District address filled them all.
The mayor spoke with assurance and hope that our city can tackle the difficult problem of economic inequality through affordable housing programs, job training, and improving and investing in public education. She mentioned the need to do better on maintaining our local infrastructure, and called on Congress, federal government and our neighbors in Virginia and Maryland to establish a dedicated funding source for Metro, which is so crucial to our economic growth (Read Greater Greater Washington‘s “Metro needs money, not more studies, says Muriel Bowser”). She also stressed the need for affordable, high-quality daycare to keep families in the city.
But what got a standing ovation was her demand that if Congress won’t help, it should not get in our way.
DCist reported on Bowser’s defiant attitude toward the Trump administration and members of Congress like Utah’s Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House committee with oversight over the District’s governance.
Already, the Trump administration has indicated that it hopes to reduce funding for public schools, community development, and the arts, while the new Congress has begun attempts to curtail the District’s right to legislate independent of federal priorities. Bowser rebuffed those plans, rallying the audience to shout “Hands Off D.C.” to people like “our friends on the Hill from Utah.”
Fox 5 first focused on what the mayor said about the District’s missing teenagers.
At the end, she called on the citizens of the District to work together to tackle the problems and ensure that its prosperity is shared by all who live here.
If her speech represents the bones of a plan, the fiscal 2018 budget the Office of the Mayor releases today may flesh it out.
Here is a full transcript of the speech.