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Have Your Say on the Change We Want in Our Community

Dear Neighbors,

One of my core beliefs is that leaders are only equipped to speak for their community once they’ve spoken with their community. I also know that real change in our society starts from the ground up, when neighbors come together to make their voice heard. The next few weeks include many opportunities for you to weigh in with me and with your government on the issues that matter most to you – from public transit and better city services to Ward 4’s ANC/SMD boundaries and the DC budget. Since there’s so much going on, I pulled it all together for you in one, brief email to make it easier for you have your say.

Ward 4 Community Budget Forum

I will be hosting my Ward 4 community budget forum on Saturday, February 12 at 3:30pm to hear directly from neighbors and ANC Commissioners about what they want to see included in the DC budget for next year. Each Ward 4 resident will have the chance to share their budget priorities as we head into budget season. Last year, I advocated for the investments that residents asked for and several of them ended up in the DC budget! I’ll also share information about the DC budget process and how you can speak at hearings or submit written comments. It’s surprisingly easy, and it’s your right as a DC resident.

Ward 4 ANC/SMD Redistricting Public Meetings

The Ward 4 Redistricting Task Force is holding two community hearings to receive public input (up to 3 minutes per resident) on what our ward’s ANC/SMD boundaries should be: on Sunday, February 6 at 2pm and on Tuesday, March 8 at 7pm. Community input from the first meeting will be used to draw proposed discussion maps, while the second community meeting will be an opportunity to share feedback on those proposed discussion maps. Both meetings will offer ASL and Spanish interpretation. You can also share your input with the Redistricting Task Force at any point by emailing Ward4Redistricting@dccouncil.us or leaving a voicemail at 202-642-5714. ANC and SMD boundaries matter because they provide equitable access to elected representation at the most local level of government.

WMATA’s Proposed Budget and Service Levels

Reliable, accessible public transit is essential for our community. Over the past year I’ve heard from countless Ward 4 residents about the burden that reduced service on MetroBus and MetroRail has caused. WMATA has now released its proposed budget for next year. If you rely on public transit to get around, it’s incredibly important that you take just a few minutes to fill out WMATA’s budget survey by 5pm on February 15. This is our best chance to restore the bus routes and service levels that our community depends on. There will also be a public hearing where community members can testify in person, by phone, or by video at 600 5th St NW on Tuesday, February 8 starting at 6pm. I will also be submitting testimony in support of our Ward 4 bus routes and rail service.

Listen As We Climb Sessions

Since kicking off Listen As We Climb community listening sessions for each Ward 4 neighborhood, I’ve deeply appreciated hearing from Ward 4 resides about what’s front-and-center on their minds. We’re having powerful, wide-ranging conversations that are actively shaping the work I’m doing on your behalf in 2022. Tonight at 6:30pm I’ll be joining neighbors from Chevy Chase, Barnaby Woods, and Hawthorne for the next Listen As We Climb session. Then later in February we have sessions for Lamond, Riggs Park, South Manor Park, North Portal, Colonial Village, Petworth, and Brightwood Park.

Council Performance Oversight Hearings

In between everything else, the Council is also engaged in performance oversight hearings through early March. This is when community members come and testify about DC agencies’ performance over the past year and agency directors come to answer questions from Councilmembers. It’s a really important accountability tool we have to ensure that DC government is meeting the needs of our community. I love seeing Ward 4 residents testify at these hearings (or submit written comments) and try to lift up their questions and concerns directly with the agency. Take a look at some key oversight hearings coming up, as well as a full oversight schedule with instructions on how to sign up for each Committee’s hearings. If you have any questions about signing up, please let us know so we can help.


Our laws and our policies fall short when they don’t reflect people’s lived experiences. That’s why I’m excited to hear your feedback and your ideas on how to make our community stronger.

I’ll be back with you tomorrow with my weekly Ward 4 Dispatch. 

Yours in Community,
—Janeese