Jack Evans Report: New Year, New Terms
As we begin the new year, these are indeed exciting times for the District.
Personally, I was sworn in for my sixth full term on the Council on Jan. 2 by Judge John Ferren of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, a former corporation counsel to the District of Columbia. My son John held the Bible and I asked my staff to join me on stage – it was a great event.
In just a matter of days, President Barack Obama will be sworn in for his second term. Since I have lived in Washington for nearly 35 years and have served on the Council for almost 22 years, I was reflecting back over my interaction with the various presidents. I first attended a presidential swearing in for President Ronald Regan in January 1981, and still have the pictures to prove it! I remember how cold it was in January 1985, when the inauguration was moved indoors. I witnessed the 1989 swearing in of President George Bush from afar, but actually had a good ticket for the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton, whose campaign I co-chaired in the District. As a member of the City Council, we each got 2 tickets. I attended the 1997 second swearing in of President Clinton, both of the ceremonies for President George Bush, and the ceremony for President Obama’s first inauguration. I always found them to be interesting and exciting. But times have changed, haven’t they? I remember going for a jog on the Mall with Bill Clinton shortly before he was sworn in and then going to McDonalds. This could not happen today with the increased security. We have truly lost something.
During the Clinton years, the local government had a good relationship with the White House. We on the Council were included in a number of events. There was even a person at the White House who was a liaison to the local government. The relationship was not as active during the early Bush years, but it did pick up during his second term. I remember meeting Bush 43 at the Martin Luther King Library on MLK Day. He and his wife, Laura, were very personable. However, as a government, there was less involvement, particularly with respect to issues facing cities. We had hoped this would change with President Obama – I remember him meeting with former Mayor Fenty at Ben’s Chili Bowl four years ago, but I think it is fair to say we are hoping for a more productive relationship between the President and the District in the second term.
There are many opportunities for interaction between our local government and President Obama’s administration. And, remember, President Obama and his family are my constituents, as residents of Ward 2. Happy New Year to all of you and your families, and best wishes for a great 2013!