Candidates who attended the Oct. 10th At-Large Forum organized by the Hill Rag and the Ward 6 Democrats were asked to answer the questions from the audience and the Internet that were not addressed due to time constraints. Here are answers provided by Rustin Lewis an independent candidate.
Would you support funding in DC Schools to train school leaders and teachers about mental health options for students and their parents?
Absolutely! School leaders and teachers must be equipped with the ability to recognize certain behaviors and know what they can do to help the student or parent. Their training can potentially save a life by preventing suicide or homicide.
Please comment on the “The DC Renewable Energy Bill.” Should DC consider utilizing carbon-dioxide free or nuclear energy?
I am in agreement with DC Council’s efforts to pass the Renewable energy bill. Yes, I think that DC should consider utilizing carbon-dioxide because carbon-dioxide maximizes the use of solar, hydro- and wind energy.
Is DC doing enough to protect residents from lead contamination in tap water? Recently, Ward 8 residents were warned that the increased pressure could have contamination effects. There should be a city-wide education initiative to inform residents of the issues related to their community’s older galvanized pipes and lead service pipes. In addition, filters should be provided to temporarily abate any potential contamination.
State your position for non-partisan elections in DC.
Democracy requires the full participation of everyone. I believe in choosing the best candidate, for the job, based upon their values and commitment to the needs of the community.
What transit improvements should DC make connect neighborhoods underserved by Metro and poor bus service?
There needs to be a concerted effort to ensure transportation equity and increase the efficiency (scheduling) of the Metro in underserved neighborhoods. I would begin with a busway or transit way system that can expedite travel in a relatively short period of time with minimal expense.
Where should bikes, scooters and minibikes should be allowed? How do should DC
I would like to commission a study to explore how best the City can build bike overpass lanes and widen bike lanes. Bikes and scooters should be registered (at a very minimal cost). My intention is not to generate revenue, but to protect pedestrians and hold responsible parties accountable.
Do you support a local alternative for housing DC’s incarnated citizens? Should the District build a local prison?
I support partnering with nonprofits, like Jubilee Housing, that has successfully addressed housing for incarcerated citizens. Given my work with the Department of Youth & Rehabilitative Services, I would like to invest more in rehabilitation v.s. building a jail.
What can be done to guarantee Barry Farms residents a right of return? How should the qualifications for return be structured?
An updated priority list of residents, with contact information, should be assigned a Counselor to keep everyone updated on redevelopment plans. I recommend that senior citizens (65 and over)receive priority followed by long-time residents. Long-time residents should enroll in training programs that lead to careers that create self-sustainability.
Do you support the changes to the comprehensive plan proposed by the Mayor?
I am elated that the Comprehensive Plan has been changed to prioritize affordable housing and to prevent displacement. I firmly believe that having clear guidelines about permanent benefits to the public as a result of development is essential and should be detailed far in advance of any development agreements.
What can you do to develop vocational education in the District?
I believe that our young people need to be college ready and develop a core vocational skill set. I propose infusing vocational training within the school day by bridging a partnership between nonprofits (who are teaching vocational training classes), UDC Community College and DCPS to develop a curriculum.
What initiatives do you support to close the educational gap between African American and other students?
I will work to place greater support for crafting a policy that advocates for funding for vocational programs, apprenticeships, mentoring, tutoring, and the use of technology-based learning. Students today are visual learners, and we must update and standardize an approach that reflects how young people interact today.
For more information on Independent At-Large Candidate Rustin Lewis, visit his website.