Why Me and Not My Opponent?

Any candidate challenging an incumbent gets the question: “Why you and not the other guy?”

I respond with three ways in which I am a fundamentally different choice from my opponent.

First, I was a classroom teacher in a K-12 public school. Joe was not. I spent seven years teaching middle school, the last two right here in Ward 6. We need the voices of educators on the DC State Board of Education. The SBOE should have a diverse set of voices - parents, activists, students - but at the moment, only one continuing member of a nine member board has classroom teaching experience. That isn’t okay.

Second, I will represent all Ward 6 students, wherever they attend school, and all Ward 6 schools, wherever their students live. Joe has been a staunch advocate for a handful of DCPS schools on Capitol Hill. Ward 6 is home to 36 schools across Shaw, Mount Vernon Triangle, NOMA, H Street, Navy Yard, Southwest - and Capitol Hill. I want our Ward 6 SBOE representative to be a voice for all of our students and all of our schools all across the ward. All of our children deserve that.

Third, I think the SBOE needs to be more proactive. Joe has had four years to build a coalition on the SBOE, to push for fresh ideas, and to innovate the ways of doing things —I haven’t seen any of that happen. We need an SBOE that will push for bold policy ideas and use its bully pulpit to elevate and advocate for the kinds of changes that will benefit all students in Ward 6 and across the District.

I will be a strong voice for equity, for educators and for decisive action that benefits all students as we work to close the opportunity and achievement gaps in the District.


Jessica Sutter