The Issues


“The District will never be its best until we clean up our government and hold our politicians to a higher standard…”
Sekou Biddle

For Sekou Biddle ethics is a sacred responsibility and he will be committed to living up to the high standards that District residents have for their elected officials. He will disclose all of his financial contributions and support legislation to provide resources for the elected attorney general to act as an ethics “sheriff” who can enforce infractions decisively. From his early teaching with Teach for America and through his work as Executive Director of Jumpstart and as a member of the State Board of Education to his service as At-Large Councilmember Sekou has a reputation for doing the right thing.

Issues Priorities

  • Money in politics is at the core of nearly every ethical issue affecting our elected leaders. Campaign finance laws are rarely enforced and the penalties weak. There is a maze of bureaucratic agencies charged with oversight often without the resources to fully investigate wrongdoing. We must better monitor where contributions are coming from and ensure that any contribution limit loopholes are closed to individuals from violating the spirit in addition to the letter of the law. Greater enforcement is needed for those who would break the law.
  • Constituent Services Funds need to be abolished. The practice of taking corporate contributions to pay for Councilmembers’ office expenses and occasional constituent needs has taken us down a dangerous road. It says to citizens that there is a short cut to the delivery of appropriate services and to office holders there is a short cut to benefiting certain citizens and causes. Sekou believes that either the government should meet emergency needs in a systematic, transparent and accountable way or we need empower appropriate non-profit organizations.
  • The elected Attorney General should be given the resources necessary to enforce existing laws. The District Board of Elections and Ethics has been unable to adequately monitor violations or stem the tide of abuses from illegal gifts to questionable lobbying practices by council members. Tax issues, legal troubles and debt problems have plagued our elected officials recently bringing embarrassment and shame to the District. We must raise the standard for our representatives and Sekou will support and advocate for greater transparency in all government activities. Sekou will introduce and support legislation putting the necessary resources into the Attorney General’s office to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by elected officials and employees of District government.

Sekou Biddle’s Commitments to the residents of the District of Columbia

  • Hold himself to the highest standard of accountability and ethics
  • Enforce existing ethics and campaign finance laws
  • Support and provide resources for the Attorney General’s office to investigate allegations of fraud and abuse
  • Enforce rules and regulations around limited liability corporations (LLCs) and their role in elections

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Affordable Housing

Sekou Biddle will provide leadership in making the District a home for all residents no matter their income level. Neighborhood revitalization has increased the city’s population and increased our tax rolls but if we do not thoughtfully develop we will sacrifice our diversity. Many of our most important city employees have great difficulty finding quality housing in the District they can afford. Our police officers, nurses, fire personnel and other critical city workers should be able to live in where they work.

“If you work in the city you should be able to afford to live here..”
Sekou Biddle

Sekou Biddle will provide leadership in making the District a home for all residents no matter their income level. Neighborhood revitalization has increased the city’s population and increased our tax rolls but if we do not thoughtfully develop we will sacrifice our diversity. Many of our most important city employees have great difficulty finding quality housing in the District they can afford. Our police officers, nurses, fire personnel and other critical city workers should be able to live in where they work.

Issue Priorities

  • Sekou will work to preserve mixed income communities and provide incentives to create new ones. Workforce housing that enables critical and non critical district employees to live in the neighborhoods where they work is good for all of us.
  • There are many District agencies and programs that provide support for residents with affordable housing needs including the Department of Housing and Community Development, Home Purchase Assistance Program, DC Housing and Finance Agency and the Single Family Housing Rehabilitation program. Sekou will work to ensure that these agencies have more and better coordination allowing for savings and easier access for residents seeking support.
  • Provide support for residents at risk of losing homes including the elderly, veterans and at-risk populations. In many neighborhoods, revitalization has increased property values and brought in an influx of new people to the city. We need ensure that our neighbors who want to stay have options to live and thrive.
  • Build quality of life improvements into our communities that encourage well lit parks and safe areas to walk. Resources need to be better allocated in all parts of the district so that children have safe places to play and adults feel safe at all hours to socialize with neighbors and walk to commercial areas.
  • Improve the quality and affordability of rental housing for all income levels. Residents need to have a place to turn to in the case they have problems with management companies and they need to be able to advocate for property maintenance. Sekou will work closely with the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Office of the Tennant Advocate to ensure that renters have adequate protection against neglectful building owners.

Sekou Biddle’s Commitments to the Residents of the District of Columbia

  • Preserve mixed income communities and provide incentives for new ones
  • Ensure that the district’s housing delivery systems are working together to serve residents as they were intended to
  • Provide support for long term residents and at-risk populations who experience financial hardship due to rising property taxes
  • Deliver quality of life of improvements equally across the city
  • Advocate for better rental property maintenance and provide support for renters against neglectful building owners

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Jobs & Economic Development

“The best way for our city to prosper is to create good paying jobs you can raise a family and retire on…”
Sekou Biddle

Sekou Biddle believes that everyone who wants to work hard and do what it takes to succeed should be able to. There are more job openings in the District than there are unemployed people. Sekou believes that we have to leverage city resources in a way that effectively trains and prepares people for the jobs that are available now and the future. He wants to create more accountability for workforce development money and get a better return of investment with the millions of dollars spent on job training. Sekou will hold organizations accountable for the tax dollars they receive for job training and require that clear results are demonstrated.

Issues Priorities

  • Ensure there is a comprehensive economic development strategy for the city that includes neighborhoods, attracting and retaining businesses in the District, and creating job opportunities for District residents.
  • Enforce First Source. The local economy supports and creates thousands of jobs and District government must ensure that qualified residents are given preference for jobs using public dollars.
  • Make Workforce Development a priority. Job training must be focused on high demand jobs available now and in the future. District of Columbia Public Schools including charter schools, vocational education and the Community College of the District of Columbia must work together to create education and career pathways. These learning organizations must connect with Department of Employment Services to create strategies that link residents to jobs and long term continuing education and professional development.
  • Hold organizations that receive tax dollars for job training accountable for their results. . Many workforce training organizations do a poor job of connecting people to jobs once their training is complete. For the chronically unemployed too often people cycle through one job training program after another. Sekou will support the creation of a DOES managed performance tracking system. This will allow the District to know the real success rate of organizations doing job training for District residents. District government must do a better and smarter job of tracking outcomes for organizations doing workforce training so that we can focus our funding on what works.
  • Sekou will champion a Next Century Fellows program. This new initiative would create incentives for organizations in the public and private sector to incorporate skilled and entry level workers in their workforce. The Fellows would receive important job skills and experience and the organizations that bring them on will get the extra hands and brains they need to be more competitive.
  • Ensure that working families have access to high quality child care programs that they can actually afford. This includes ensuring that all childcare providers have the qualifications and training needed to provide a safe childcare setting. Sekou will work to provide more resources for job training in this area.
  • Sekou will work to better connect returning citizens to the Department of Employment Services and identify match them to high demand jobs and careers.

Sekou Biddle’s Commitments to the residents of the District of Columbia

  • Ensure there is a comprehensive economic development strategy
  • Enforce First Source by ensuring that DOES creates an efficient monitoring system
  • Make Workforce Development a greater priority and target high demand occupations
  • Launch 21st Century Fellows Program to support out of work residents and make District based businesses more competitive
  • Match Job Trainees to jobs
  • Hold job training organizations accountable and track outcomes
  • Advocate for quality and affordable child care for working families
  • Provide more resources for childcare training
  • Work with DOES to connect returning residents to high demand and appropriate job opportunities

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“The only way to secure the District’s future is to give our children a world-class education…”
Sekou Biddle

As Councilmember, Sekou Biddle will make education a priority and accelerate school reform initiatives. Sekou is a strong supporter of K-24 education and believes that all District residents no matter their age should have access to continuing education options and 21st century professional development skills. Sekou has eighteen years of experience in public education. He knows education inside and out and will work tirelessly for students and teachers and ensure that every tax dollar is spent wisely.

Issues Priorities

  • School reform will is a priority for Sekou and he will work closely with the Chancellor to ensure that the Council provides the resources so that all our schools improve. Sekou will support ideas that create incentives for our best teachers to teach in our lowest performing schools.
  • Sekou will work with all education and community stakeholder groups to make sure teachers are evaluated by a strong, fair and effective IMPACT evaluation. Teachers and school executives must be held accountable for the reform to be successful and sustained. Most importantly, Sekou will work with the Chancellor and the Washington Teachers Union to ensure that teachers get what they need to be great teachers including excellent professional development opportunities.
  • Sekou will champion a re-invigorated and top quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program in DCPS that includes designated elementary feeder schools and ensure that there are good STEM options at the Middle School level.
  • Sekou will prioritize mentoring programs. No matter how strong our teachers are performing or how new our school buildings are we have to tap into the many assets of our community to support our children. A strong education system includes creating ways to engage parents and better connect our community to schools. Nothing transforms a student more than a constructive relationship with an adult mentor.
  • Sekou will ensure that children have access to strong after school programs that include sports, music and art programs. He will ask the public and private sector and arts community to help support these programs.
  • In a global economy that is transforming rapidly each person, no matter what their age is must become comfortable with change and learning. The skills needed for jobs ranging from entry level positions to executive management require continuing education.
  • Sekou will push for a rigorous curriculum combined with increased student performance throughout DCPS and our Charter schools. Our students are competing with people from around the world; we must improve our core skills in math, science, critical thinking and reading.

Sekou Biddle’s Commitments to the residents of the District of Columbia

  • Provide incentives for the best teachers to work in the lowest performing schools
  • Support quality professional development for teachers
  • Champion top quality STEM schools for all ages
  • Prioritize mentoring programs
  • Engage the private and public sectors and arts community to support after school programs
  • Promote continuing education for all residents no matter their age
  • Focus on rigorous curriculum standards and core skills

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Policy by the People

“Only when we listen to District citizens and do business in a transparent way, can we honestly say we represent the people…”
- Sekou Biddle

Sekou Biddle listens to District residents. And he shares our frustrations and concerns about the state of District politics. Our Council has had real challenges in providing leadership and accountability. As an At-Large Councilmember, Sekou will have the opportunity to represent all District residents and provide a voice for residents across the city.

Sekou is running for Council because he believes we should hold our elected officials accountable. Too many times, we have elected representatives who seem to change after they are elected. We elect a person we think we know only to be disappointed and let down by ethical lapses, conflicts of interest or a refusal to engage residents honestly about their interests and concerns.

Sekou’s campaign is based on one clear promise to residents: He will uphold the public trust and he will be accountable for the commitments he makes.
As part of his work to fulfill this promise he will hold a series of city-wide forums two years into his term. These forums will focus on:

      How is he doing? Commitments-hits and misses


    What next? Residents will share their vision and expectations for the District and for Sekou

The policy ideas found here are the first step in getting to know Sekou Biddle and what he stands for. As a District voter you have the power to create a city you can be proud of by electing the leaders it needs to provide the future we want.

All of Sekou’s ideas have come from his experiences as a District resident, his professional experiences and from listening to people across the city. The policy priorities below are not finished. They need your input. 100 days after Sekou is elected he will announce his final policy priorities incorporating the best ideas he has heard from residents across the city. We invite you to participate in this process and let Sekou know what you want out of your Council and District Government.
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Public Safety

“The only way to success in creating a stronger economy with vibrant neighborhoods is to create a safer District…”
Sekou Biddle

Sekou Biddle believes that there is no issue that directly affects each resident more than public safety. In the District, we need to provide the resources and leadership for both the Metropolitan Police Department and for other public safety agencies like our Fire and Emergency Medical Services department. While public safety has improved dramatically in recent years, far too many people are still victims of violent crime and live in neighborhoods that are unsafe. Sekou believes that we must reduce juvenile crime and reform our juvenile justice system that all too often releases dangerous youth back onto the streets. He will also work with the District’s re-entry system to find ways to better integrate returning citizens into the community and find them jobs and training opportunities.

Issues Priorities

  • Sekou will work with the Police Chief to ensure that MPD is using neighborhood policing strategies bring the police out of their cars and onto the streets. Accessible and involved neighborhood police are vital for creating trusting relationships between the police and the community. Just as important are neighbors taking an active role in neighborhood safety by becoming involved in watch groups and civic organizations. Sekou will work to make sure neighborhoods have the resources they need to make these partnerships effective at making streets safer.
  • Sekou will fight for adequate resources for all of our public safety agencies. He will ensure that the 2007 EMS Task Force recommendations are fully implemented and that the city provides quality EMS services across the city in all eight wards.
  • Sekou knows that more must be done to prevent juvenile crime. It has become clear that once a person becomes involved in crime and the criminal justice system the possibility that they will lead a productive life is severely compromised. We need to fund and better manage comprehensive services for all incarcerated and at risk youth.

Sekou Biddle’s Commitments to the residents of the District of Columbia

  • Work with MPD to strengthen community policing and community engagement
  • Ensure adequate resources for all public safety agencies
  • Ensure that all recommendations of the 2007 EMS Task Force are implemented
  • Strengthen the juvenile justice system to better protect the public from dangerous youth
  • Advocate for more resources for comprehensive services for at risk youth and formerly incarcerated youth to help prevent crime

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