DCNorthstar has been covering uptown meetings and events for nearly two years. During that time, we’ve learned a lot about how our local elected officials work. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Being an effective representative requires an array of skills and talents. Citizens are charged with electing a neighbor to be their interface with the vast city government. Yet, there’s never been an effective mechanism to learn about the candidates for these local elections before we step into the voting booth. Until now.
We invited all the candidates for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 4A and 4B and for the special election for the Ward 4 seat on the State Board of Education to meet us for an interview to share their plans and ideas with the community. Twelve of them graciously agreed.
The interviews took place on October 13th at the Shepherd Park Library. The candidates were thoughtful and passionate about serving their community. The interviews were conducted by Jennell Alexander and filmed and edited by Christopher Alexander. Talent management was performed by our children Savannah and Xavier and their friend.
This interview is with Iris Parks, candidate for ANC 4A02 commissioner.
We hope that you enjoy this series.
Here is the transcript of the interview. Jennell’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses make up the paragraph text.
Election Day is coming. Do you know who is running to be your Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner? My name is Jennell Alexander from DCNorthstar and we interviewed several candidates and they’re going to tell you a little bit about what their platforms are. Take a look.
- Jennell Alexander
Hi, I’m Iris Parks. I’m running for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the 4A02 Single Member District.
What is the most important issue facing your Single Member District and how do you intend to address it?
The most important issue is the illegal clubs on Georgia Avenue. I plan to work with the new agency office that was just established by our council member Brandon Todd’s legislation, the Office on Nightlife and Culture. I intend to work with them to address the issues that we’re having with the clubs operating illegally.
What are your thoughts on the pace of the city’s development? You can answer this in regards to Walter Reed development or the city’s comprehensive plan.
I think a city development is a good thing as long as it does not intrude on the residents. Walter Reed is a great asset to the District of Columbia. It will provide economic growth as well as employment for the residents.
This commission struggles to work together at times. How will you work with the residents and other commissioners when there is a contentious issue?
First and foremost, my constituents are the most important to me. Whatever issues that we’re having, I will always engage the residents in that. One of the ways in which I will engage our residents is by having a “Chat and Chew”, block per block, where the residents can come together and we can discuss the issues that we’re having. That will also give them the opportunity to express their perspective and issues and concerns.
And as far as the other, ANC commissioners, I will work with them. I believe that we as a community can come together and reach a favorable consensus by communicating effectively.
How do you plan to keep residents informed about issues?
I will do a quarterly newsletter and again, I will host a monthly “Chew and Chat” to discuss ongoing issues.
Why are you the best person for the job? Why should your neighbors vote for you?
I have lived in Shepherd Park since 2001. My children attended Shepherd Elementary School. I love my community. I am an alumni of Trinity College with a degree in Management and Human relations. I recently retired from the federal government after serving 42 distinguish years in public service as a management official. I am also a small business owner and I am a member of the Cedar Marks of Washington DC, which is a charity organization where we raise funds to help enhance and groom the next generation of leaders by giving them four year scholarships. With my experience in the federal government and as a small business owner working with the local government, I have amassed knowledge of working with both sectors of the government, a federal government, and the local government.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and enjoy yourself in the city?
I walk. I’m an avid walker. I walk throughout the neighborhood. I also host cookouts and I invite the neighbors over to get to know them. I also participate as a volunteer with the Ward 4 Constituent Services Program. It’s relaxing because I’m able to give back to the neighborhood, to the Ward 4. I helped with the Fun Day activities and also help with the annual a coat drive that the council member sponsors once a year where we provide clothes and warm coats for low and moderate income families.