Responses of Muriel Bowser to GLAA 2007 Questionnaire
for DC Council Candidates
1. As a member of the Public Safety and Judiciary Committee, will you support funding for mandatory gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) sensitivity and diversity training for all members of the Fire/EMS Department?
Yes. This is an issue that needs to be more attention. I will work with the Mayor and the new Fire Chief to ensure that this is part of the new Chief’s agenda. All residents of the District deserve immediate and appropriate care from Fire and EMS when they are in need.
2. Will you press the Metropolitan Police Department to combat the transphobia entrenched within our police force, expressed in the widespread assumption among police officers that every transgendered person is a prostitute until proven otherwise?
Yes, I will work with the Metropolitan Police Department to end all profiling. MPD make itself part of every community if we are to build trust again.
3. Will you support a budget for the Office of Police Complaints large enough to continue to avoid developing a backlog of cases?
Yes. We must build trust between residents and the police department. If residents feel that their complaints go unheard, the residents will not partner with police to increase safety. This question is about accountability and, as a Councilmember, I see one of my main roles is to hold the feet of agencies and the executive branch to the fire.
AIDS AND PUBLIC HEALTH
4. Do you agree that the drive to make HIV testing routine among District residents should include funding for counseling and referrals to treatment facilities for those testing positive?
Yes. We need further investment in the prevention of HIV. A comprehensive approach with counseling and referrals is essential to taking on the problem.
5. Are you committed to continuing and expanding the District’s condom distribution program?
Yes. The Department of Health’s Coming Together to Stop HIV in DC is a good step in our efforts to combat the spread of HIV. However, I will advocate for further public education and awareness campaigns. We must enlist all community partners to take on HIV.
6. The District is being forced by the federal government to switch from a unique identifier system to a names reporting system for people testing positive for HIV. Will you support legislation to strengthen our medical privacy laws, such as by creating a private right of action for those whose confidentiality is violated by District government employees or contractors?
Yes. I will work to protect medical privacy. When the right to medical privacy is violated by government employees or contractors, we must act swiftly to set an example for how private industry should handle such breaches.
7. Will you support a budget for the Office of Human Rights (OHR) large enough to allow it to reduce to 270 days the average gap between the time that a discrimination complaint is filed and the time OHR issues a finding of probable cause?
The Office of Human Rights should be able to review complaints within 9 months, and I will support funding to do so. I believe the legal community could be recruited to help expedite this process on a volunteer basis. We need to ensure those who file complaints know that the District government takes their complaints seriously and will work to address their concerns in a timely matter.
8. Will you block ceremonial resolutions and otherwise decline to honor individuals or organizations that promote any sort of bigotry?
9. Are you committed to publicizing and enforcing the provisions of the D.C. Human Rights Act forbidding discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression?
10. Do you agree that the Director of the Office of Human Rights should be required to have professional training and experience in civil rights law enforcement?
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?
Yes. I believe this is a matter of fairness and equality. If the District passes such a measure, I will lobby against any attempt by Congress or the federal government to overturn it. The District of Columbia must be allowed to choose its own direction on this issue without interference from the federal government.
12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?
Yes. As Councilmember, I will work with my colleagues and the Mayor to expand the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage. Again, this is a matter of fairness.
13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?
14. Will you oppose legislation giving special benefits to PEPCO until it implements an equitable domestic partner benefit program?
15. Do you agree that private contractors doing business with the District should be required to provide domestic partner programs?
PUBLIC EDUCATION AND YOUTH
16. Do you oppose both federal and local voucher programs that fund students in religious schools that are beyond the protections of the D.C. Human Rights Act?
I believe any money for public education should be spent only within the protections of the D.C. Human Rights Act.
17. As a member of the Committee of the Whole which now has jurisdiction over the public school system, will you oppose the use of either federal or District taxpayer funds to promote “abstinence only until marriage” sex education that undermines safer-sex programs by discouraging the use of condoms and that effectively tells gay and lesbian students that they must remain celibate forever because they may not legally marry?
I support safer-sex programs that will encourage the use of condoms. “Abstinence only until marriage” sex education is neglected by pop culture’s aggrandizement of sex to our young people. We need to promote healthier lifestyles by our young people in order to combat the [sic]
CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES
18. As a member of the Public Works and Environment Committee which has jurisdiction over ABC licenses, will you support the relocation of the many gay bars and businesses that were displaced by the new ballpark, even if local NIMBYs and homophobes oppose them?
The displacement of businesses by the new ballpark should be remedied by relocation assistance from the District.
19. Will you support legislation to curb the abuses of NIMBYs who are now allowed to file an endless series of baseless complaints to harass or extort bars and restaurants?
Just as I have as an Advisory Neigh [sic]
Please provide the URL for your campaign website, if you have one. We will include it on our candidate links page.
Your record is part of your rating. Please list any actions that you have taken that may help illustrate your record on behalf of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders.
A fourth-generation Washingtonian, I proudly live in the wonderful Ward 4 community of Riggs Park. With a Master’s degree in Public Policy from American University, I can be a strong advocate for all Ward 4 neighborhoods.
COMMUNITY LEADER & ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSIONER.
I have been active in the Ward 4 community and have worked with neighbors in every corner of our Ward:
- Ward 4 Precinct Coordinator for the Fenty 2006 Mayoral Campaign
- Elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner 4B09
- Elected First Vice President of the Ward 4 Democrats
- Elected Second Vice President of the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association
- Former Treasurer of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B
OVER 10 YEARS EXPERIENCE WORKING IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT.
I have significant experience in local and regional transportation planning, advocacy and service delivery to neighborhoods. I am the Assistant Director of one of five mini-town halls in Montgomery County, MD. These centers bring County government programs and services closer to the communities who use them. I am responsible for:
- Advocating for resources on a neighborhood and regional basis
- Serving as liaison to over 60 community leaders and organizations
- Developing a multi-million dollar departmental budget
- Providing oversight and approval of departmental expenditures
- Implementing the federal crime reduction “Weed and Seed” program