DCNorthstar has been covering uptown meetings and events for nearly four years. During that time, we have learned a lot about how our local elected officials work. Being an effective representative requires a special collection of skills and talents and an amazing level of dedication.
Residents have the privilege to choose a neighbor to help them understand the intricacies of the vast city government. However, it is not easy to learn about the candidates for these local elections before we step into the voting booth.
As we did last election cycle, we invited all the candidates for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 4A and 4B representing neighborhoods from North Portal Estates to Riggs Park to send us a video or answer a few questions to share their plans and ideas with the community.
We hope that you enjoy and are informed by this series. This video is with Erin Palmer, candidate for ANC 4B02 commissioner. She currently holds this seat.
Hi, my name is Erin Palmer and I’m the advisory neighborhood commissioner for single-member district 4B02 and I’m running to serve in that role again.
What is the most important issue facing your Single-Member District and how do you intend to address it?
I think there are two answers to that question, and the more day to day mundane answer is traffic safety issues. I hear from residents very regularly about cars, speeding through neighborhood streets, and infrastructure challenges. And I’ve worked directly with residents on the District Department of Transportation process for traffic safety assessments. And I’ve also worked with the commission as a whole and DDOT to ensure that DDOT’s processes are transparent and that they’re accountable for how they make traffic safety improvements, and when.
The larger answer to that question is responses and supports due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. I’ve helped get information to residents about government services, as well as connected them with groups like Ward 4 Mutual Aid. I, and the commission as a whole, have advocated for legislative and other changes to support folks both in terms of housing and health issues.
How do you plan to keep residents informed about issues?
I have a really robust communications strategy. I do a very detailed monthly email newsletter that I have that goes to many, many residents and people across the district that has a lot of information about our upcoming meetings, about upcoming legislative hearings, neighborhood updates on projects and developments, and just generally what I think is helpful information. I also communicate by email and telephone.
I was holding monthly office hours, but now I just have open email and telephone communications. And I’m trying to think creatively about how to connect with residents during the public health emergency, virtually. I posted a virtual mask making skills share, and I’m about to have a virtual sip and draw where a local artist has designed a drawing that incorporates elements of the hand sculpture and the Sam Gilliam mural by the Metro.
Why are you the best person for the job? Why should your neighbors vote for you?
I think I’m the best person for the job for a few different reasons. I’m deeply connected to the community. I’ve been involved for a number of years, working with the Manor Park citizens association, the Kennedy Street development corporation. I’m currently on the board of main street Takoma. I am a good communicator. I’m both good at getting information out and also ensuring transparency and accountability I serve as the commission’s secretary. We’ve done some upgrades procedurally in terms of how we get information out. And we’ve also improved our adherence to the statutory requirements that we do an annual report, which I’m doing and working on again this year.
And finally, I’m a very collaborative and constructive commissioner. Anyone who has followed the history of the commission knows that there have been conflicts in the past. And the current commissioners have worked really hard to be collegial and collaborative, and we work very well together. Thank you.