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 Tischa Cockrell, the incumbent commissioner for ANC 4B07.
We hope that you enjoy this series.
Here is the transcription 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
Hello, my name is Tischa Cockrell and I’m running for ANC 4B09, Riggs Park.
What is the most important issue facing your Single Member District and how do you intend to address it?
In my opinion, we’re working with public safety right now. We’ve had a few challenges in terms of crime and different situations going on in my single member district. And so I’ve been walking with the ONES team, which is the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement. I’m trying to see what the needs of the youth are and speaking with the seniors as well, asking certain situations that had been going on in the neighborhood and hopefully we can find some resolve to find the youth something to do and keep the seniors safe.
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.
Fort Totten Square is my Single Member District’s, development project. Although 4B handles some of Walter Reed’s issues, my biggest issue is the development going on in my community. We’ll be getting 168 townhomes located across the street from the Riggs Road, Walmart. With that, we have a lot of development as well as the South Dakota Arts Place development in the Modern. So I’m kind of abutting that. We’ve worked really well with the developers and were able to get a CBA which is a Community Benefits Agreement.
I do my part in letting the community know what’s happening. I work also with the Lamond Riggs Citizens Association and Development Task Force on which I’m a member of in order to make sure that we’re keeping everything safe and an order. In regards to the comprehensive plan, I did make some amendments. I’m not really sure if they all were accepted. I really want to educate my community on what the comprehensive plan is and how we can speak to it for our community.
This commission struggles to work together at times. How will you work with the residents and other commissioners when there is a contentious issue?
I do my best for the most part to try to stay neutral. However, there is a time to pick a side. I’m on the side of right as much as I can be and on the side of making sure that my constituents are heard and taken care of in the midst of the melee.
How do you plan to keep residents informed about issues?
I have a Single Member District meeting every third Tuesday. It’s located in our recreation center, so I get about anywhere from 15 to 25 residents that come to my single member district meeting every month. We cover subjects such as the development, what’s going on in the community, what happens at our meetings, our LRCA meetings (Lamond, Riggs Citizens Association) are very well attended as well. So between the newsletter, my meetings and the community meetings, they get all the information.
Why are you the best person for the job? Why should your neighbors vote for you?
I believe in hard work. I knock on doors more than just election time. I’m usually outside when I’m delivering my flyers for my single member district meetings. I deliver the neighborhood newsletter for the Lamar Riggs Citizens Association. So the information, some of it in there is from myself and things that I’ve witnessed or dealt with in the community. I also attend all the meetings from the Citizens Association to the single member district, meetings that I have and the meetings of the ANC. I rarely miss a meeting. So I think that I’m working hard and I’m making sure that all the information from my community as well as me to the community is being disseminated effectively.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and enjoy yourself in the city?
Well, I’ve been a resident of DC for the last 24 years. I have a good time in the city. I had a good time before I started to participate in politics in the city, local politics, and I’m still having a good time in the city. I enjoy every part of it. I go to the sporting events. I go to the neighborhood bistros and bars and clubs. I have a really good time. I enjoy Washington DC.