Because of technical difficulties during the debate, Ms. Kathy Henderson was not able to complete participation in the debate. As a result, OCF has offered Ms. Henderson a chance to submit written responses to the debate questions.
Ms. Henderson is a candidate for the position of At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia.
Q1:There are 13 members on the council with varying backgrounds and life experiences. What perspective is missing on the council that you would bring?
Federal Government Auditor and Accountant. The Council is in great need of an Auditor to impose (and teach to other Council members) oversight authority over government operations.
I bring the experience of an African American woman and award-winning, 20-year effective advisory neighborhood commissioner. I was recognized by People and Essence magazines and won awards from the Chief of Police, US Attorney and others.
Q2:After the resignation of Jack Evans early this year, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said voters should be concerned about the council becoming less moderate and too quick to spend money. What is your response to his assessment.
I agree. Current council members seem eager to spend taxpayer dollars and many of the other candidates similarly want to spend the rainy day fund and raise taxes. I will not be a tax and spend legislator if elected.
Q3:The D.C. Chief Financial Officer announced a shortfall of more than 200 million for the fiscal year. I will ask two questions regarding this shortfall regarding spending and taxation. First, what if areas in city government would you target for spending cuts?
The controversial McMillian Development project at 75 million, the Office of Neighborhood Safety And Engagement at 5 million dollars and the Dave Thomas Circle project at 35 million dollars should be tabled to address the shortfall.
Q4: Do you support raising the income tax on the highest earners? And what if any other measures should the council take to raise spending?
I am not inclined to seek an income tax raise. I believe a thorough review of every agency and eliminating back room deals will save additional taxpayer dollars.
Q5: Do you support further cuts to the D.C. Police budget? Yes or No.
Q6: Do you support the decriminalization of sex work in the District? Yes or No.
Absolutely not; prostitution is not work.
Q7: Do you support ranked choice voting in the District of Columbia? Yes or No.
Q8: Mayor Muriel Bowser has repeatedly said that the District government does not have resources to meet the needs of everyone hurting financially because of the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, who should be the District’s top priority for financial pandemic relief?
The most vulnerable among us, especially the elderly and families with children that face hunger and homelessness should be prioritized for scarce relief resources.
Q9: Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana dispensaries, and if so, do you support the legislation proposed by Mayor Bowser?
No. Dispensaries have a history of robberies and violence where they are located. I believe these dispensaries will drive up violent crime, further eroding public safety.
Q10: Rate the performance of Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on a scale of 1-10.
I like Phil and believe he is doing a good job; although, I believe he needs to reign-in the members and remove Charles Allen from chairing the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety; I’d give him an 8.7.
Q11: Rate the performance of Mayor Muriel E Bowser on a scale of 1-10
Mayor Bowser needs to ensure all agencies perform as expected; DCRA is allowing individuals to perform work without proper permits. The Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement does absolutely nothing.
Q12: Each voter can select two candidates for at-large seats. Who gets your second vote?
I am weighing my options.
Q13: The D.C. Council recently passed temporary police reform legislation that requires prompt public disclosure of body camera footage in cases of deadly force and setting new standards for the use of deadly force. As the council prepares to pass a permanent version of this bill, what provisions would you like to see removed or added?
I believe the Council should go back to the table to revisit the legislation and begin again with an unbiased perspective. We need to reduce the growing crime rate, particularly violent crime. I continue to advocate for adding at least two civilian members (that are not political appointees) to the Use of Force Review Board.
Q14: Did you support the District’s use of public financing for Nationals Park? And would you support similar public funding to bring the Washington Football team back to D.C.?
Businesses earning over 5 million dollars per annum helped to finance the Nationals Stadium; these businesses were primarily the K Street law firms. The Washington football team has the resources to build a stadium at their expense. Improving infrastructure around the stadium is a reasonable approach that supports our city.
Q15: Mayor Bowser this week introduced legislation to reform the Certified Business Enterprise program which is meant to help local companies with preferences in contracting, but critics say has been abused by out-of-state and fraudulent companies. Do you think the program is working and do you support the legislation?
DC small business owners continue to vocally decry disenfranchisement; accordingly, the program is not working. This is especially evident during the pandemic.
Q16: Would you support a first-in-the-nation proposal to require a doctor’s prescription to purchase e cigarettes as a smoking cessation device? Yes or No.
Q17: Would you support congestion pricing to reduce traffic and to encourage use of alternatives to cars? Yes or No.
No. I support investing in improving the Metro system as a viable alternative to driving. On-time, safe and comfortable bus and train service will attract riders.
Q18: Would you support tax on sugary drinks? Yes or No.
No. The Government should not be in the business of legislating juice and soda.
Q19: Support delaying extension of Streetcar into Benning Road. Yes or No.
No. Streetcars provide a clean, safe and enjoyable ride to users. Better planning will improve the system.
Q20: Should we remove police from DC Public Schools?
No. Children have largely positive relationships with the officers that serve schools. This interaction can strengthen our cadet program.