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Hanrahan to challenge Cropp as write-in

(Published September 9, 2002)

In what has become known as the year of the write-in campaign, D.C. Council Chairman Linda Cropp also is expected to face a challenger on the November ballot who used the write-in route to ballot access.

Debby Hanrahan, a longtime civic activist, announced her candidacy Sept. 3 for the chairman’s seat. Hanrahan is expected to garner enough write-in votes in the Sept. 10 primary to gain the D.C. Statehood Green Party nomination to run in the Nov. 5 general election for council chairman.

Hanrahan, a 30-year D.C. Statehood Party activist prior to that party’s merger in 1999 with the D.C. Green Party, assailed the council under Cropp’s leadership for maintaining "little oversight over projects that have had or will have huge negative impacts on our neighborhood’s and on the city’s fiscal health."

She specifically cited the recent Grand Prix auto race held on the grounds of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, the unsuccessful bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and the mayor’s pledge to provide financing for a new baseball stadium if the District can land a Major League Baseball franchise.

Cropp is seeking her second full term as chairman of the council and faces no opposition in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary. Neither the Republicans nor the Statehood Greens fielded a candidate for council chairman on their primary ballots. Hanrahan is the only announced challenger Cropp faces at this point to her bid for another four-year term.

Hanrahan said she will advocate for a new "world-class" public hospital on the site of the old D.C. General Hospital. She said she wants all funds received from the sale of any part of the approximately 60-acre Reservation 13, the former federal land on which the hospital sits, to be earmarked for a full-service public hospital.

Housing, education and jobs also are on Hanrahan’s agenda. She pledged to "work aggressively" will others on the council who want to see D.C. Public Schools’ operating and capital budgets fully funded and called for the expenditure of $30 million in anticipated funds in the city’s Housing Trust Fund.

"We’re in the midst of a housing and homeless crisis and I will see to it that this money is spent on low- and moderate-income housing that will revitalize our neighborhoods," she said.

Hanrahan also called for an increase in the number of jobs that are required to go to D.C. residents during sports, music and other events at RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory. She said she wants the number increased from the current 51 percent to 76 percent.

"My own informal surveys of workers at D.C. United and Washington Freedom soccer games indicate that there are many more Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia residents with jobs than there are D.C. residents collecting tickets, selling refreshments and souvenirs and ushering," Hanrahan said. "Our young people are especially being shortchanged. This is our stadium and our armory, and these jobs should belong to us."

Hanrahan’s background includes serving as secretary for Statehood Party co-founder Julius Hobson when he served on the Board of Education and council. She also served as a staff member for former at-large councilwoman Hilda Mason, who was the Statehood Party’s last elected council member.

Hanrahan served in the Peace Corps in Chile and takes credit for helping to organize the anti-Vietnam War movement, the United Farm Workers’ grape boycott and the nuclear freeze movement. She fought to block construction of the North Central Freeway/Three Sisters Bridge in the 1960s and 1970s and, more recently, against the new convention center being built at Mount Vernon Square.

In 2000, Hanrahan was one of the "Democracy 7" activists who were arrested, and later acquitted, for protesting in the House of Representatives gallery against congressional control over the District’s budget and legislation.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator