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Four Years ago we endorsed Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans for re-election when he was a candidate for a fifth term and was up against a credible opponent. This time around, the council member has no opposition in the Democratic Party primary election being held early next month. Nevertheless, we still feel compelled to urge Ward 2 voters to cast their ballots for Jack Evans so as to send a signal not only to city bureaucrats, the chief financial officer, the mayor and even to his council colleagues that the taxpayers of the ward are counting on him to be their voice.

And, it’s not just that Evans is the long-time chairman of the council’s powerful finance and revenue committee, but also his seniority that benefits the ward and ensures that the ward and its residents are not left at the bottom of the list, as it were; this is simply the real-world way that politics in our city works and the ward’s voters should not lightly discount this reality

Another exceedingly important reason for supporting Evans has to do with his highly influential leadership in matters pertaining to the District’s finances. For example, during the course of the past several months — again, using his finance committee chairmanship “pulpit” — he has been able to convince the other members of the city council that the millions of dollars of “found” revenue and unexpected tax receipts be held in reserve until the time comes that that the effects of the long recession have run their course and revenues have increased to a healthy level to allow for not only continuing to reduce the District’s outstanding bond indebtedness but to also resume full funding of needed programs and services.

But it’s not just that Evans has been urging the council to stay the course and not revert to the spend, spend, spend paradigm, he has also worked to change the minds of members who blithely advocate increasing taxes and has fought against proposals that would have added to residents’ tax burdens even in this time of financial uncertainty –- and yes, there are some council members who have never met a dollar that they didn’t wish to allocate to a pet project or group.

In addition to the Ward 2 race, there is the important at-large seat, presently occupied by former Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange who was elected in a special election to fill out the unexpired term of Kwame Brown who held that seat until he was elected city council chairman. Next month’s primary election will result in selecting the Democratic Party’s nominee and it is Vincent Orange who we are endorsing.

Regular readers of The InTowner may recall that when Vincent Orange was campaigning in the city-wide election two years ago against Kwame Brown for the council chairmanship we held a contrary view as to his suitability for a council position. However, we have been observing him closely during his most recent turn as a council member and we have decided that he is clearly the most qualified of the Democratic Party hopefuls who are vying for the seat. We say this not just because he is an accomplished professional accountant and understands fiscal issues and budgetary matters but also because we have seen that he contributes effectively to council deliberations in a balanced and collegial manner -– and we need more of that these days!