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2016 State of the District Address

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Below is Mayor Bowser’s State of the District Address as delivered.

Select this link to view the speech-only version of the 2016 State of the District Address.

Select this link to view the entire 2016 State of the District Address program.

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser
2016 State of the District Address
Remarks As Delivered

Thank you, Khidar.  Thank you, everybody. Thank you so very very much.  

Hello, Washington, DC.

It is wonderful to be here at the fabulous Arena Stage, isn’t it?  Isn’t it!

I am honored to deliver the 2016 State of the District Address.

Before I begin, I would like to take a moment with you, to have a moment of silence and recognition of our neighbors in Brussels.

moment of silence

Thank you.

Tonight, we all stand in solidarity with our family and friends across the Atlantic.

And we stand here. I stand here proud to stand before you, proud to be the mayor of my hometown.

People ask me all the time:  “What surprises you about being Mayor?”  Some of you have asked me that. And if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that, we could build the rest of the streetcar line!

The thing about being Mayor is that --- on any given day, you don’t always set your agenda. You don’t always get to pick the issue, the call, or the emergency that will require your attention. You don’t get to say if you make a decision that day or not, because the decisions that you make affect hundreds of thousands of people.

You don’t know, when you’re mayor, if a Presidential candidate will try to tread on DC by attacking our reasonable gun restrictions.  You even don’t know if a Congressman will try to attack our marijuana laws, access to women’s healthcare, public funding for schools, or simply by making fun of our streetcar.  

Now, we can make fun of streetcar, but we’re not gonna take it from a Senator from Kentucky! We’re not going to do it!

So despite all of the things that we won’t be able to control, every morning when I wake up, I focus all day that day and every day on the things that Mayors do – the things that  I can do to create opportunity that is equal, and fair, and blind to age, gender, race, or religion, or zip code.

I am focused on delivering the fresh start we promised for every single Washingtonian.

I’m focused on making sure no one is left behind, and making sure that hard working, goodhearted Washingtonians like Khidar…give him another round of applause.

We want to make sure that Khidar and people who have walked in his path will get a fair shot and a pathway to the middle class.

I will go to Cuba, to China or out to Fairfax County, if it will help us continue to feed our economic engine and improve your prospects for a better future. I will recruit and retain and the best team of professionals --- who share my commitment to all in the District of Columbia, and my belief that we who work for you are stewards of our government.  I will set a bold agenda and I will deliver on it, because that’s what you elected me to do.

I have learned that if the issues are tough, the politics are hard. As an ANC Commissioner, a Ward Councilmember, and now Mayor, I know firsthand that nothing stays the same.

And I believe we have three choices.  

First, we can reject growth and watch our decline

Or we can grow without regard to our roots – to our history – and risk losing what makes DC great.

Or we can take a third way…..we can balance change with preservation.  We can balance growth with a focus on our history.  And we can do it together across all 8 wards.

So I guess you know a I choose the third way.  And I know we can do it together, by making smart and equitable investments in:

  • Schools
  • Public Safety
  • Infrastructure
  • And most importantly, in our people!

So, I would like to change gears for a second, and go quickly through some things we’ve done together.  

Just consider how far our city has come in the past decade since I first reported to the Wilson Building as the Ward 4 Councilmember.

Let’s start with our schools.

  • We have School reform that equals an accountable mayor & DCPS rising
  • 6.5 billion dollars to modernize DC Public Schools, with about $2.5 billion to go
  • We have 500 mentors for boys who need it the most
  • $720 a year saved by parents, thanks to Kids Ride Free….you like that one?
  • 8,200 families reading with ‘Books from Birth,’ thank you Councilmember Allen
  • We have Cornerstones, Common Core, and Career Academies
  • We have the best conditions for public charter schools in the country
  • More time for learning through the extended year program
  • We have pre-K 3 and 4
  • And our soon we will open a school for boys in Councilmember Alexander’s Ward 7  

We’ve done a lot.  And we have the results to show for it.

We have one of our shining students here.

And all day, I’ve been watching social media about Akilah Johnson from Eastern High School.

Akilah made DC proud by winning the National Google Doodle competition!  

She included the DC flag in her beautiful doodle, because, as she says:

“I’m a Washingtonian at heart, I love my city with everything in me!”

Where is Akilah?  Is she here?  Give her a big round of applause. There’s Akilah!

So with our investment and hard work, there are 15,000 more students in public schools than 2007 - that’s more than a 20% increase.  Our parents are voting with their feet.

And student achievement is rising.  DC has the fastest improving urban school District in the nation!  Give yourselves a round of applause for that.

Last month, I hosted three budget engagement forums ---- where people come – we had them all over the city – to speak up about their budget priorities, before we finalize the budget.  And you won’t be surprised about this.  Folks come with their own specific ideas – broad ones and very specific ones.  But there is one priority that rises to the top of everyone’s list.

In order to do all the other things we want to do as a city, Washingtonians agree, we have to get education right.  We have to get it right.

So with this budget, we will make the largest investment in public education in our history - with a 75 million dollar increase over last year!

That means more funding for instruction, and focused programming in both our traditional public schools and our public charter schools.  

I have also called on Congress to renew the SOAR Act, which will provide an additional $225 million in public education in the District over the next 5 years.

Last year, you told me we weren’t modernizing our schools fast enough - so we’re going to fix that.

And under the leadership of Councilmember Grosso, we took a closer look at modernization and established a criteria to ensure modernization spending is equitable and right-sized.

Because you asked for a greater investment, my upcoming budget will include an additional $220 million dollars for the capital budget, for schools.

We will no longer do half modernizations or tell you half the truth when it comes to our modernization plans.  You deserve better, and we must deliver better for students and parents.  

So starting in 2017, we will give each school that hasn’t been modernized a full renovation.

That means a couple things.

There will be some schools that get done sooner and more completely…. and others will take a little longer.  But most importantly, all of the schools that remain will be done, and all of them will be done right.   

We will complete modernization of our middle schools as I promised I would do. We will complete comprehensive and selective schools within this six-year capital plan as well. Twelve schools, only 12 schools that have not been renovated will need to be modernized after this CIP in 2022. Just 12 out of 111. And that is what we have been able to do together.

We will then make those schools our top priority.  And I will work with our friends on the Council to find the $470 million to get the job done!

At the end of the day, we have to maximize our limited resources.  So much so, that we will dedicate a significant amount of our borrowing capacity, as mandated by DC law, to investing in our schools.  We are putting all our chips on education - and we are betting big on our children’s future! But that’s what you elected me to do.

So another pillar of a strong community is a safe community.

Now, let’s look at the progress made since ten years.

  • We’ve had 10 years of nationally recognized Chief of Police in Cathy Lanier
  • The Rosenbaum Task Force, and I know Councilmember Cheh served on that taskforce, established the framework for EMS reform
  • Crime rates have been headed in the right direction
  • We recruited a fire chief from Seattle, very experienced in the things that we need to work on
  • We implemented the $500,000 for security camera program, to keep residences, churches and other buildings safe in our city
  • We are working toward a 4,00-person police –that looks like the community they serve
  • We established community grants and strong neighborhood partnerships
  • And an unwavering commitment to those we serve

As a result of all this - and the thousands of first responders who work so hard every single day - we are a safer and stronger city.  But like many big cities, we had some challenges this past year.….. too many homicides, and too many robberies.

So we’re approaching the challenge in a number of ways. And I want to be very clear about something. I believe the best way to fight crime is to give people a fighting chance.

I have met so many young men and women who feel left out of our prosperity.  They’re not looking for a handout.  They just want a shot, they want a chance, they need help.  So we are extending our hands.

Whether it’s the LEAP Academy…….Career Connections…..or the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, we are giving our most vulnerable residents a path they never knew existed.

And that includes our returning citizens. Next year, my Administration will take over operations of the DC Jail, the entire DC Jail, including the Correctional Treatment Center.  This will allow us to bring back more of our federal prisoners. The sooner they get home to DC, the sooner we can give them extra support and services before they come home.

We will enhance job training and mental health services too. And we will do more to reconnect family members and loved ones. Addressing root causes of crime is our starting point.  

We are also keeping our Metropolitan Police Department on the cutting edge – with the best tools and best practices – that prevent crime, and help us solve crimes when they happen.  We are growing our police force to protect our growing city…..thanks to the support of Councilmember McDuffie, we will make it easier for those experienced officers from the military and other police departments join the ranks of the Metropolitan Police Department.

And we want them to be DC Residents too. And this year because of an innovation partnership between the chancellor of schools and the police chief, you see a public safety academy at our very own Anacostia High School!

We will continue to put in place the policies and practices that keep the trust between our residents and law enforcement.  And that includes implementing the most progressive - most transparent - Body Worn Camera program in the US of A! Because we believe that transparency and accountability strengthen our community.

And by the end of this month, more than 650 police officers will be equipped with a Body Worn Camera.  And by the end of this year, every single patrol officer will be wearing one!

So Councilmember Nadeau you’re going to see them in Ward 1, and Councilmember Alexander you will see them in Ward 7, too. And we’ll see them across the city.

A strong MPD is fundamental to our safety, and so are our fire department and emergency services.  Thanks to a new law spearheaded by Councilmember Cheh, we now have more safety and health precautions for our firefighters.  And that’s been a long time coming. It’s has been a long time coming.

But we know there is more we can do to strengthen our emergency services.  And you will soon start to see tangible signs of EMS reform.

Between 2002 and 2015, despite our growing city and increasing calls for service, the District put out the same number of ambulances on the street each and every day. Between 2002 and 2015.

The city grew, but the number of ambulances we put on the street did not. So we increased that number by 10 last spring.  And starting next week, I want to thank the Council for their support, we will put as many as 30 more ambulances on the street during peak times.

But that’s not all.  Over the next few months, we will put in place more than 30 new 911 and 311 call takers and dispatchers!

And during that time as well, we will provide the training that our forces need and deserve.

So just as public safety is foundational to our strong community, so is the infrastructure that supports us.

So here’s some things that we’ve been able to do together over the last ten years in our city.

  • We’ve put hundreds of millions of dollars into recreation centers and our libraries. And aren’t they looking good?
  • We have completed bridges and streets that but for that intervention could be falling down
  • We endured a derecho, too many power outages to count, and we created a plan together to underground our power lines so it doesn’t happen again
  • We became #1 in the nation in green buildings and green roofs
  • And you might have heard, 2 Bald Eaglets nested right here in the District!
  • We also inked largest wind power deal ever for a US city
  • We focused on the things Mayors do, and have to do to make the city run well: like Potholepalooza, AlleyPalooza, making sure the street lights are synchronized as well
  • And the things we focus on that Mayors must do and should do: like $100 million in investment in affordable housing - with a renewed commitment every year that I’m your Mayor!

As a result, we’re going to build a city not built for the past, but we’re building one for the future.

We will continue to invest in schools, and parks, and libraries to the benefit our residents today, while setting us up for success tomorrow.  We will keep investing - along with Maryland and Virginia - in our public transportation network, to make sure that metro is safe and reliable, and growing…….And I know I can count on Metro’s new Mayor, Jack Evans, to make good and work hard with all of us to make sure dollars are spent well and trains is running.

We will keep investing in smart and clean energy.  And while it is ultimately the job of the Public Service Commission to hold the utility accountable, we will keep fighting, all of us, to make sure our public utility that is affordable, reliable and sustainable.

And most importantly, we will keep investing in our neighborhoods.

Look what happened in this very place. The wonderful Arena Stage.

Arena Stage made their home in Ward 6 more than sixty years ago.  And in 2010, with 10 million dollars of direct investment from the city, they renewed their commitment to Southwest with this beautiful theater.

And we want to thank acknowledge and thank everyone who was has been a part of that progress.

And we continue to see progress in Southwest with hotels, and homes, and retail popping up at the Wharf.  And this is where we should thank our Congresswoman who fought so hard to make sure that DC has access to that great waterfront land and all that it will bring to our city.

So let’s acknowledge Molly, Edgar, Beth and the team here at Arena Stage for this beautiful night.

We want to bring that same commitment and investment to every part of this city. We saw it with huge investments in Columbia Heights and at City Center.  And this year, you’ll see progress at the new DC United Stadium and at Walter Reed.

And thanks to the tenacity and hard work of Councilmember LaRuby May and Ward 8 Advocate Mary Cuthbert, you will see people living, shopping, dining and playing at St. Elizabeths real soon!

Let’s give them both a big round of applause!

And just like she held job fairs here, I know Councilmember Silverman was going to work with us to make sure we can hold those same job fairs at the Sports & Entertainment Arena at St Elizabeths in 2018.

Working together, we are bringing jobs to the neighborhoods where people need them most.

And because right now, when you look across the District, we have projects in all 8 wards that will lead to 32,000 new jobs. And while some may see cranes in the air, I see 32,000 pathways to the middle class in the near future.

Since day one, this is what I’ve said to my team.  Anytime someone wants to do business with DC government, you ask them - what can you do for DC residents?

That means jobs, that means more revenue, and that definitely means more affordable housing!  I have this conversation frequently with our councilmember at-large for housing, Anita Bonds.

And because of our partnership together, there are now 5,300 units of affordable housing in the pipeline - which will house nearly 12,000 DC residents - more than we’ve ever had in the history of Washington, DC!  

Places like Plaza West at Mt. Vernon Triangle, where you can have great affordable housing for grandparents raising grandchildren.  And the old Phyllis Wheatley YWCA – for people who make less than 30% of the area median income – right in Shaw.

As DC continues to grow, we want to make our city affordable and accessible for everyone - whether you’ve been here for five generations, or for five minutes.  So Councilmember Todd will tell you that our seniors should be able to live in their hometown, in their own homes, and on their own terms.

So this year, we launched ‘Safe at Home’ to offer small home modification grants for seniors and people with disabilities. 160 people have already enrolled…..people like Mr. Sidney Glee.

After multiple hip surgeries, Mr. Glee has a hard time climbing the stairs in his home.  He saw an ad for ‘Safe at Home’ and called us right way. 18 days after the consultation with the occupational therapist, the DC Office on Aging installed a stair lift and grab bars at his home.

Mr. Glee now has peace of mind that his house will always be his home, and that fills of us with glee.

Our vision is that no matter your age, no matter your income, you should be able to make a good life for yourself in the DC.

So we’ve got schools.  And public safety.  And infrastructure.  But at the end of the day, our success rises and falls on the people of Washington, DC.  

Washingtonians are the reason DC is rising. So we will continue to invest in YOU.  

Folks celebrating their first birthday, or their one hundred and seventh birthday.  Our vision is to make sure you can live a great life in Washington.  No matter your skin color, how you worship, who you love, your given tongue and your given abilities. Every Washingtonian deserves a fair shot, and a pathway to the middle class

Wherever I go – let me tell me one thing, whether it’s Cleveland Park or Anacostia - parents are telling me how hard it is to get their kids in high-quality childcare.  This year, we will make a new investment: an additional 3.6 million dollars to improve childcare across the District of Columbia.  But we know that won’t be enough.

So I have charged the Deputy Mayor for Education and the Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services to convene a working group to come up with recommendations to expand childcare and early childhood opportunities in the District, so we can give every child, and every family, a strong start here in Washington!

As our city grows and more families choose DC, we’re working hard to create and attract good-paying jobs for Washingtonians.  In the past year, here’s some good news, our unemployment was driven down a full percentage point!

And we know it didn’t happen by accident. It happened because of a lot of hard work.

I often tell people that mayor – there’s one thing the Mayor doesn’t have – a big bag of jobs….I wish I did, trust me.  The job of the Mayor is to make sure we have an environment where businesses can grow.

So we are doing everything in our power to retain and attract jobs in the DC.  We fought to hard to keep major employers like Blackboard, and we won. We fought to keep major employers like Advisory Board, and we won.

And between those two companies, we protected 1,300 jobs….and paved the way for 1,000 new ones.

We will create several thousand jobs at St. Elizabeths, too.

We’re going after the big ones.  And we’re looking out for our small businesses and startups, too.  

Look at the success of Dan Berger.  Is Dan here?  There’s Dan.
 
In less than four years, Dan turned an idea created in an English basement into Social Tables -- a global company with 3,000 clients and 120 employees!

And we want to make sure we see more successes like Social Tables.  So we’re working to give DC’s own a fair shot.

We started the CEO Growth Academy.  We launched and will open late this summer the Inclusive Innovation Hub at Howard University, led by Luma Labs.  We continue to invest in Great Streets grants, and the expansion of apprenticeship programs.  And with Councilmember Orange, we are connecting small businesses with unprecedented opportunity with the District government.

We need a thriving private sector to put people on the path to opportunity.  And we rely on people like Stacy Smith to help us pave those pathways.  Stacy is very open about her story – she tells us she didn’t make it through high school, she faced some challenges as a young adult. But in 1993, she found someone willing to take a chance on her.  So today, more than 20 years later, Stacy is the general manager at Hyatt Place just up the street. Where’s Stacy? Thank you Stacy.

Someone gave Stacy an opportunity when she was starting out, so now she’s paying it forward.

Stacy and Hyatt Place have hired 8 people who signed up with DOES, including several of our 22 – 24 year olds.

And we want to thank Hyatt Place for being a great employer.

Stacy will make this opportunity available each summer, but the question is: will we?

And tonight, I call on the Council to permanently extend our summer youth employment program - because opportunity should not have an expiration date!  Are you with me?

So we want to make sure when our residents fall on hard times, we should be there to help them.

So last year, we made unprecedented investments to end homelessness in the District of Columbia.…..Our commitment is to make it rare, brief and non-recurring. Even though we’re just one year in, we have good news.  In 2015 alone, we helped 1,000 families exit homelessness – that’s a 33% increase over 2014.  We helped nearly 1,500 individuals, including 760 veterans, find a permanent home!

But we know we can be even more effective --- and make better use of taxpayer dollars - when we prevent families from falling into homelessness in the first place.  And here’s the number I’m most proud of. In the past six months, we prevented 900 families from becoming homeless!

And while we have good news, and we know we’re headed in the right direction, we also know there will always be barriers that cause some families to fall into homelessness, and have the need for emergency shelter.

When I was elected, I promised you that we would close DC General.  Let me not clear, I can’t mince words:  DC General is too old, too big, and it’s not safe enough.  Hundreds of families live in conditions you wouldn’t have for yourself.

So we’re going to close DC General by opening small, short-term family housing facilities across the District.  They will be beautiful… they will be dignified places where families can thrive, and where little children can be little children.

But we cannot do it alone.  The Council paved the way with a vote last fall, and we need your next vote to move us forward again.

I urge us not to be distracted by arguments that are based on fear…..or convenience….or apples and oranges comparisons that falsely represent the cost of lifting our families out of homelessness. Because make no mistake.  If we fail to act – we will fail.  If we fail to act, we will not be able to close DC General.  Not now, not any time soon, and maybe never.

I am asking the Council to stand with me so that we might keep our commitment - to the community and to families.  And in September 2018, we will be able to close DC General.  And then I will ask our families all across DC to welcome families in need with open arms. The thing I know about Washingtonians is that Washingtonians have a generous spirit.  And I know they will see them not different from themselves in spirit or in aspiration, but as neighbors who share a common humanity, as people who have the same hopes and dreams for a brighter future.

People ask me all the time why are you doing this? Why are you taking this on?  Let’s be honest, it presents political challenges. People have said vicious things – they clouded the mission and they have threatened those trying to carry it out…Literally. Because sadly sometimes people fight from a place of fear. And sadly, sometimes leaders retreat to that same place.

But there is nothing to fear.   All we are trying to give to families who find themselves at DC General hope. You see: what will happen at these short-term family housing facilities is what happens in people’s homes in across the District of Columbia.  Parents will get up every day, and get their kids ready for school….and try to find a better path forward.  

Closing DC General is the right thing to do.  And this is what I know, you believe it too.

We heard from 12,000 people across the District who support our plan.

DC’s families deserve better than DC General. Five year old Dwayne deserves better.  Two year old Crystal deserves better.  And little Relisha, she deserved better too.

I know that together, with hard work, and communication, and keeping those promises, we can conquer that fear. And that is my commitment to you tonight.

So that’s a big ask, I know. I told you last year, I would have some big asks – that’s the Mayor’s job. But I have one more. So, you ready?

With grocery bills, childcare and eldercare, transportation costs…..and the other expenses on the rise….an hourly minimum wage of eleven dollars and fifty cents will only stretch so far.  

When I talk about ending homelessness, when I talk about our families who are on public assistance and I think about our minimum wage, I see all of these things conspiring against our success.

Low wages create an invisible ceiling that prevents working families from truly getting a fair shot.

A report issued just last month showed that lowest-income residents in the DC are overwhelmingly people of color and that nearly half of those earners were born here in Washington, DC.

In a city as prosperous as ours, we can level the playing field and we can make sure our residents are paid a good wage so fewer families are forced to leave.

When the Council returns from its break early next month, I will send legislation to the Council to increase our minimum wage to fifteen dollars by 2020! Thank you.

So we’re going to answer the President’s call to raise the wage.  Cities and states across the country are proving that decent wages and strong business climates are not mutually exclusive.  We are Washington, DC, and we can do it, too!

And as we raise the wage, I will assemble a task force of leaders – from workers, to organized labor to leaders in our business community, with a simple task –  they’ll only have six months to do it. They are going to come together to make sure we are creating a worker and business friendly environment in which we maintain our regional competitiveness.

From paid family leave, to identifying new ways to help our residents start small businesses – the task force will present a report that recommends what we can do to stay competitive and continue to prosper.

I welcome the Council to join us in that deliberation. But the raise cannot wait, and I ask the Council for swift consideration in our fight to make sure that more families, more workers, can earn a decent wage, so they can afford that housing we are creating. So that when their time on TANF has ended, they can afford to stay in the District of Columbia.

We continue – and we will – to invest $100 million each and every year in affordable housing, we will do that.  We can reform our TANF program to keep families working their plans from falling off the cliff, and we will.   

We can improve how we do job training, we must.

But we cannot do it alone.  If a fair wage is not at the end of that cliff or the job training, our families will be forced out. So we must fight for fair wages.

Later this week, I will put forward my 2017 budget.

It will be the District’s first local budget since Chairman Mendelson and I won the court battle for Budget Autonomy. Let me acknowledge the Chairman of the Council for really standing up for the voters of the District of Columbia.  Give him a big round of applause.

I was glad last year to break from my predecessor and stand on the side of those who are standing up with the voters. Unlike the previous administration, I believe that when 83% of DC voters cast a ballot in favor of budget autonomy, the Mayor ought to back them up.

In fact, one of my first decisions as Mayor was to stop suing the Council and to join them in their quest for budget autonomy.  

So what will that mean for us?  It means YOUR elected leaders decide how to spend YOUR money.  For example, six councilmembers want to revisit the TANF cliff.  Our budget will give them the time to do it.

You see budget autonomy means that when you tell me to protect TANF, we will work hard to do it.   It also means when you ask me to spend more on education, I do it. And Budget Autonomy means we are one big step closer to becoming the 51st state in our union.

Budget autonomy is not the last step.  It will take a lot for us to gain full democracy. And we invite all of our friends in Congress to join us.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 guaranteed us protection against discrimination based on race, color, religion gender, and national origin. But what it did not do…. Maybe people didn’t think we had to protect residents of the Nation’s Capital from not being represented in the Capital of the nation.

154 years after President Lincoln abolished slavery in Washington, DC, we remain at the mercy of those we did not elect to office. It is just not right, and we must stand together until everybody recognizes it.

In our budget, we will make those investments in education…..in public safety…...in infrastructure…..but most importantly, we will continue to invest in our people.

We will work to make life better for Washingtonians today.  And we will work to make sure our children and their children inherit a strong, healthy and prosperous Washington, DC.

And I know we can do it, because I believe in DC.

Over the past year, I have seen so much bravery, compassion, resilience, and determination of Washingtonians.  I have admired the Girls Who Code. I met returning citizens who are begging us to come up with a system that gives them a fair chance, a second chance. I met a man who was touched, I think you saw it in the video. When he got a job and was on his way, he said he said:  “Mayor Bowser, you have one less person to worry about.” We all watched with glee 106-year-old Washingtonian enjoy a dance with President Obama.  We saw a police officer use her dance skills to prove that she can’t dance, but that there is more that unites us than divides us.

I came together with our entire community to mourn our fallen heroes. And tonight, we should remember our fallen firefighter Kevin McRae and brave police officers from Prince George’s Prince William Counties who we mourn as well.

And I see firsthand the passion, dedication and hard work of more than 35,000 DC Government workers. Please give them a round of applause. When I asked them to do 12 hour shifts, they did it. And they did it will glee. They wanted to show DC could handle a blizzard, and we did.

We’ve done a lot of great things this year, but we could not do it without those 35,000 people who show up for the residents of the District of Columbia each and every day. Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, we had a great year.  But we have so much more to do. I pledge to you that we will continue to focus on creating pathways to the middle class. We will work hard on your behalf, and fulfill the promises that you’ve entrusted to us with. We will do everything that we can to preserve the wonderful and rich history of Washington, DC, and lay the groundwork for a better tomorrow. We will make sure - in a city as prosperous as ours - that everyone gets a fair shot.

My fellow Washingtonians, I am pleased to report tonight, that the state of the District of Columbia is strong.  These days are bright.  Our best days are still ahead of us.

Thank you very much for your trust, for believing in our vision, for challenging us to do better each and every day.

I know that will God will continue to bless the great Washington, DC. God bless you all.