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Age: 55 Hometown: Indianapolis Occupation: retired president and chief executive of Verizon Washington Claim to fame: started as a secretary at Verizon and retired as head of the D.C. office
MP3 Audio: Marie Johns talks about how she would deal with bureaucracy in government.
VISION I’m the only one who’s had the day-to-day responsibility of having to manage a large, complex organization, and I think that’s important in the mayor’s office. And I also have a long record of civic leadership, which is another aspect of the skill set I’m presenting in this race. We are a $10 billion municipal corporation. It’s always fascinating to me when people try to draw these huge distinctions between government and business, when really any large organization is going to have certain similar characteristics. You need to have a management structure, a plan in place for how you deliver services, a system for accountability. That’s true in business; it’s true in government. And that’s why my experience is the relevant experience in the race. EDUCATION There are some who feel the mayor doesn’t have as much of a direct impact on education. I don’t think that’s true. As mayor, I would be very much involved in the education of our children as well as providing more educational opportunities for those who need to return to school. I would have a commitment to provide universal access to early-childhood education. I’d also have a parental-resource component. So many in this city really don’t have the skill to be parents. We can make all the critical judgments we want as a city. But in life things happen sometimes that may be out of synch, and as a compassionate city, we ought to provide the resources so that parents can become stronger and provide better for their families. On the K-12, I want to partner with the superintendent and relieve some of the day-to-day operational requirements to the extent that that would be helpful to them — things like keeping schools clean and in good working order. That would let them focus on their number-one priority of focusing on the kids. AFFORDABLE HOUSING The unfortunate thing is, the current leadership has let this building boom end without a plan for affordable housing. The city has a history of not using all the tools it has for affordable housing. Every year, Washington gets money from HUD. Those dollars are not always spent. I’d make sure they’re spent. We’re going to have some school buildings available; I’d use them to address affordable-housing needs. Making the city’s own land available for affordable housing is imperative. CRIME EMERGENCY The thing that was deeply disappointing is that this spike in crime was fueled by adolescents, but there was no mention of a youth-development component of what we should be doing. Had I been mayor, I would have said, “Our rec centers are open 24 hours; our swimming pools are open 24 hours. We want to give you an alternative to being out on the streets.” We are already not doing the best job of enforcing the curfew where it is now, and now we have a bigger enforcement job. I’m not sure that wasn’t more than a good sound bite, as opposed to, substantively, what that’s going to end up yielding. We have to create more opportunities for young people so they can be on a more positive track. The bill didn’t address that. BASEBALL It has to be more than just baseball. Baseball is important for the catalytic effect it has to create for building out the waterfront. I’ll be focused on making sure the new communities are mixed income. We have to hold tight to the value of economic diversity and can’t have it be an enclave for new, wealthy residents. I’ll insist we have the most aggressive opportunity for local businesses. Whatever permutations make sense, I’ll make sure the local businesses have a big piece of the action. I’ll also ask them to create an internship program for D.C. public school students that will show them the business of sports, exposing our kids to all the terrific careers that are beyond the athlete. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT We haven’t in the past had the strong relationships with the executive departments in the federal government. I’d use them as a tremendous resource. It really disturbed me that the application for homeland security dollars was not fully funded and part of the reason reported was that the application was not up to snuff. We need to take advantage of the assistance and proximity [of the federal government]. We do not do a good job of getting every dollar available, whether it’s homeland security or job training or money for health initiatives. Historically, the city has not spent all the money that it could or drawn down everything available. We need to work with the executive branch as a partner. • Visit Marie Johns’ campaign Web site

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