Apr 22, 2022 - News

D.C. mayoral candidate wants to supersize city government

Illustration of the Wilson building in Washington with lines radiating from it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Council member and mayoral candidate Robert White yesterday said that if elected to lead the District, he would go on a massive hiring spree to counter crime, investing $1.5 billion in new climate-related jobs.

Why it matters: White said he envisions hiring about 10,000 people to install solar panels, plant new trees, and work on other clean energy initiatives. The idea to supersize city government with new jobs as a crime-fighting strategy is in contrast to Mayor Bowser's commitment to expanding the police force.

What they're saying: "This monumental program will drive down violence by giving people a real alternative to crime while addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change," White said.

  • White's reasoning for the uptick in violence: "The streets are offering a better opportunity than our government," he said at a press conference, standing next to a poster board that shows an increase in homicides since 2017.
  • Calling his proposal a "jobs guarantee plan," he noted that unemployment among Black residents is nearly double the rate for the whole city. He blasted the Bowser administration's job training and employment programs as ineffective.

The other side: Bowser, who faces White (and others) in the June primary, has proposed a $19.5 billion budget that would bring the city’s police force to 4,000 officers over the next nine years.

  • She has said boosting the ranks will improve 911 call wait times and help the city battle rising violent crime.
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