Thanks to strong support from labor, including 1199 members, Kenyan McDuffie sailed to victory on Tuesday, May 15th in a special election for the Ward 5 council seat for the District of Columbia.
1199 Member Political Organizers and volunteers worked hard in the weeks leading up to the election, persuading Ward 5 residents and getting out the vote in support of McDuffie. The thousands of Ward 5 voters reached through 1199’s efforts, and those of our sister union 32BJ, helped McDuffie garner 40% of the vote in a crowded field with 11 other candidates on the ballot. McDuffie earned nearly twice the number of votes of his closest rival in the race.
The Ward 5 DC Council seat became vacant in January when Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. stepped down. He agreed to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with taking more than $350,000 in city funds that were meant for youth recreation programs.
“Scandals in the District have made it incredibly challenging to keep our leaders focused on what matters to residents -- good jobs, quality healthcare, better schools,” explains Deborah Jeje, 1199 member and intake specialist at United Medical Center, the only full-service acute care hospital east of the Anacostia River in the District. “Kenyan is dedicated to improving the lives of Ward 5 residents and to rebuilding the faith of DC residents in our elected leaders.”
McDuffie is a third-generation Washingtonian and native of Ward 5. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in the District, he became a Letter Carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. He eventually attended college, first at the University of the District of Columbia, and eventually graduating with honors from Howard University.
He went on to earn a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. His legal career has included working for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, enforcing federal civil rights statutes and working to reform police departments throughout the country. "As a DC resident, I'm proud to have helped elect Kenyan. He's got energy and integrity – two things District residents need in our leaders,” said Jennifer Bangura, an 1199 Member Political Organizer and dietary aid at Georgetown University Hospital. “Our city has some serious healthcare challenges, and Kenyan will work with caregivers and residents to help solve them."