Mayor Anthony Williams Speaks at DC Vote's Champions of Democracy Awards 2002
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January 7, 2003
First, I would like to acknowledge Ilir for the work that he does. I want to acknowledge Cynthia Robbins for the work that she has been and will be doing and someone who has long been working on this issue, and is just as passionate as anyone on this issue, Dan Solomon. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our Shadow Delegation, who are working hard to represent our state on a national level in the Senate. I would especially like to acknowledge Senator Ray Brown, who is doing what I have tried to do, but he is doing it better and more effectively. He is out there in city councils and county councils, getting resolutions and support for full representation, voting rights, and budget autonomy - the whole package for our city. I would also like to acknowledge Frank Rich, Sr. for standing up for democracy in this city. I salute you. Please also acknowledge Eleanor Holmes Norton, for accomplishing more on the Hill without a vote than those who have a vote. Imagine if we could leverage that and give her the vote. Imagine the power that we could have.
Last month, I was election the Second Vice-President of the National League of Cities. I am very, very proud of this. The National League of Cities can incorporate into its formal policy support for representation for this city. I pledge to talk about our agenda to all 50 State Leagues and activate them.
Finally, we had our first Citizens Summits in our city. Democracy is not really up there in terms of people's concerns, people's deeds, and people's objectives. But this last Citizens Summit we had, it was topmost in people's minds. People recognized that the government has to work better, we need economic development, and we have to be a self-respecting city. But to be all of those things, if we are going to have a city that is about democracy, we need a vote. That's why this is incorporated into the strategic plan of our city. And that's why I believe that as we leave this room, we have to count on all of you collectively, as we count on our leadership, to come up with a doable, workable, aggressive strategy and hold all of ourselves accountable to it. We can't just point to one person - the Mayor did or didn't do this, the Council Chair did or didn't do this, or the Congresswoman did or didn't do this. All of us have to do this together. All of us have to come up with an agenda, and then persevere in this agenda to the very end. And in this, you have my support. You have my partnership. Good luck to our cause.