Over the next couple of weeks, we’re featuring the people who serve on the most local of our local government: The advisory neighborhood commission for Forest Hills, Van Ness, North Cleveland Park and Wakefield.
ANC commissioners are elected every two years, so they’ll be on the ballot on November 4th (with two exceptions – see below). We’ve invited the candidates of ANC 3F to submit statements about what they’ve done for the neighborhood and how they’d like to serve in the future. Today: Mary Beth Ray of 3F03. She is running unopposed.
I am honored to have served as your ANC Commissioner for the last year and a half, and I hope to earn your support and your vote for another term. While we have accomplished much in the last 18 months, there is still much to be done.
Our Forest Hills/Van Ness community is filled with natural beauty, well-educated and talented people, a dynamic international embassy presence, and a commercial district that is not yet living up to its potential. What’s our vision for the future? How can we make Van Ness more beautiful and more vibrant? Thus was born the ANC 3F Van Ness Vision Committee, which I chair. Under the inspiration of community leaders (like Marlene Berlin, founder of the FH Connection), and the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers including other ANC commissioners, architects, lawyers, planners and others, we have worked with people across the city to bring life to our neighborhood.
- We planted over 2,000 daffodil bulbs along Connecticut Avenue, yielding a beautiful perennial spring display.
- We are working with architect and neighbor Travis Price to produce a design for a new Van Ness hub that will be a beautiful, sustainable community gathering place
- We are working with WMATA, Fannie Mae and others to bring music programming and plantings
- We held design charettes seeking community and landscape architects’ input to reinvigorate our new hub
- We are holding Meet and Greets with merchants, commercial property owners and developers to let them know that Van Ness is open for business
- We meet regularly with UDC, WAMU, Fannie Mae, BF Saul, Pollinger, DDOT, DC Office of Planning, DC Water, National Park Service and others to include stakeholders in our visioning work
- We’ve volunteered and helped publicize clean up days for Soapstone Valley Park, working with Rock Creek Conservancy, NPS and other volunteers
- We’re reaching out to local businesses including Bread Furst, Cutting Edge, Acacia and others to help them apply for improvement grants
- We’re working with neighbors and DDOT to add sidewalks, making our neighborhood more walkable and safe for kids and commuters alike
- We’ve set up and chaired a Soapstone Valley Committee which reduced the number of trees taken down for essential DC Water pipe work
- We participated in a UDC-Green Living Expo panel to encourage sustainable development
- We co-wrote the winning submission to participate in the Vibrant Streets Workshop, an Office of Planning/Street Sense initiative to revitalize our streets
- We’ve worked with City Council members to help bring in Clean Teams to pick up trash, mulch and water
By way of background, we moved to Washington 22 years ago, and we have loved raising our family in Forest Hills for over 10 years. A New Orleans native, I graduated from Vanderbilt (BA 1981) and LSU (JD 1986). I practiced law in Louisiana, married Sheldon, then moved to Hong Kong where I did legal consulting. In 1990 I joined MCI, handling litigation, negotiation, real estate and business matters.
I retired in 1999 and plunged into volunteer work. I tutored in a DC public school, chaired Flower Mart, and wrote book reviews for the Diane Rehm Show. I serve on the Cathedral Garden Committee and All Hallows Guild board. At Georgetown Presbyterian Church, I help with our homeless dinners and shelter, organize youth and yoga classes, and co-chair fundraisers benefitting local and international charities. I’ve served as a Deacon, Elder and Trustee. I volunteer at my children’s schools. Our children, now 21 and 16, have loved their Forest Hills childhoods, especially hikes and scavenger hunts through Soapstone Valley. We chose Forest Hills because of its natural beauty, proximity to the Metro and Rock Creek Park, low crime, and interesting neighbors.
My ANC goals are to:
- Beautify and invigorate the Van Ness/Conn. Ave. corridor
- Work with architects, landscapers, planners and the community to design and build a beautiful and vibrant hub at Windom and Conn. Ave. that will attract a humming retail community and create a dynamic gathering place for the arts
- Improve walking, cycling and traffic conditions
- Provide safer access to Rock Creek Park
- Preserve the natural beauty of Soapstone Valley while working with city agencies to rebuild essential infrastructure
- Encourage public-private partnerships, and
- Foster a joyful sense of community
All through positive relationships with city leaders, agencies, nonprofits and neighbors. I am eager to listen and lead, work with fellow Commissioners, build consensus, and communicate progress using community events, the Forest Hills Connection, email and Facebook. Thank you for giving me a chance to make a great neighborhood even greater!
Please note that no one is on the ballot for single member districts 3F05 or 3F07. If you have decided to run as a write-in candidate, please send your statement to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t know who represents you on your ANC? Go to ANCFinder.org.