Volume 09 | October 2017
Stay Connected With Me


Hello neighbor,
Several weeks ago, I visited the DC Jail to meet with and talk to the men who were preparing for release about available city resources and to get feedback on their needs as they begin the process of coming back home. I didn’t go alone—I went with my brother, Michael, a former inmate who once passed through the jail but will never again.

I’ve seen firsthand the many frustrations and difficulties of navigating life after incarceration. It’s the reason why I’m hosting a screening of the documentary "Returning Citizens" and a panel discussion with returning citizens on Thursday, November 2 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center in Ward 8 to discuss my pending legislation and to highlight their needs as they transition home. 
MY RETURNING CITIZENS LEGISLATION
Finding housing and jobs are two key difficulties for returning citizens, so I introduced a bill that ensures that sealed or expunged offenses and arrests without convictions are not used against residents applying for career opportunities or a place to live. I expect a hearing on the Criminal Record Accuracy Assurance Act on Wednesday, November 8. If you have any questions on the bill or are interested in testifying in support, please call my office at (202) 724-8174.
 
Another important bill I introduced is the Returning Citizens Opportunity to Succeed Amendment Act. This bill would help returning citizens get government identification before they return home, grant a transportation stipend to help them find jobs and housing, and require the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs to establish contact with District inmates six months before they return home to begin the transition process. I need your help so that we can get a hearing scheduled. Please call the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety at (202) 727-8275 and ask them to set a hearing for this bill.
LOOKING AT CRITICAL EDUCATION NEEDS
Last month, the Committee on Education held a hearing on the BEGIn Act—Bolstering Early Growth Investment Amendment Act. This was the first hearing on one of my bills since I've been in office, and I thank Committee Chair David Grosso for holding it.

I was excited by the overwhelming community and expert support from 50 witnesses unanimously testifying on the need to expand quality early childhood development programs. It was very clear that strong investments in children ages 0-3 can help us close our achievement gap and meet the need in our city during this baby boom. The return on investment is $7 for every $1 spent. You can check out the Op-Ed I wrote with Walter Smith of DC Appleseed here .

I was very disappointed that the State Superintendent of Education opposed the bill and supported the status quo when the need for reform is so clear. I have begun working with Councilmember Vincent Gray, who also introduced an early education and health bill, to increase the investment in our youngest residents.
UPDATE ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING
I introduced a bill to look at converting vacant office buildings into affordable housing a few months ago. Next month, on Thursday, November 16 the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization will hold a hearing on this groundbreaking bill. Contact my office for more information on the Office to Affordable Housing Task Force Establishment Act.
NEW LEGISLATION
This week, I introduced a resolution to stand up against the National Rifle Association and its supporters in Congress who want to allow anyone who has a license to carry a concealed firearm in any state to carry a concealed firearm in every state and the District of Columbia. My resolution, supported unanimously by the Council, signals to Congress that we don’t need more guns on our streets. Far too many Americans, including our children, are dying every day from guns, and Congress needs to stop playing politics with innocent people's lives.
 
I also introduced the Micro-Business Startup Fee Relief Amendment Act, which will make it easier for our budding entrepreneurs to open businesses in the District without paying the same fees that we charge large companies and big box retailers. My bill deeply discounts the fees by 75% if a business makes less than $100,000 a year. This bill gives people with limited financial means the ability to become entrepreneurs and invest in their dreams. It will especially help young people, returning citizens, and seniors. I thank a local resident, David Sheon, for bringing this idea forward after working with young aspiring entrepreneurs.
CONSTITUENTS IN THE OFFICE

 I was so happy to host volunteers from Contemporary Family Services, Inc. at my office during Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Contemporary offers programs to enable persons with disabilities to lead meaningful lives. The participants helped us expand our outreach within the community. 
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Thank you Audrey, Susan, Antonio, Earline, and Contemporary Family Services, Inc for helping our office this month! #NDEAM
FIND US IN THE COMMUNITY
*Dates, times, and locations are subject to change.
Wednesday, October 25
ANC 5A | 6:45 p.m. | UDC-CC Backus Campus | 5171 South Dakota Avenue, NE

Wednesday, November 1
ANC 8C | 6:30 p.m. | R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center | 2730 Martin Luther King Jr Avenue, SE

Wednesday, November 1
ANC 3D | 7:00 p.m. | Wesley Theological Seminary | 4500 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
 
Thursday, November 2
“Returning Citizens” Screening & Panel Discussion | 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. | R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center | 2730 Martin Luther King Jr Avenue, SE
 
Thursday, November 9
ANC 6A | 7:00 p.m. | Miner Elementary School| 601 15th Street, NE
 
Tuesday, November 14
ANC 7D | 6:30 p.m. | Dorothy I. Height/Benning Neighborhood Library| 3935 Benning Road, NE
 
Tuesday, November 21
ANC 5E | 7:00 p.m. | Friendship-Armstrong Public Charter School| 1400 1st Street, NW
To connect personally with District residents, my team will be hosting Community Office Hours in Ward 5, Friday, November 17 (Location and time TBD) I look forward to discussing neighborhood issues with residents. I hope you will join me.
NEED HELP?
PLEASE CONTACT ME OR ANYONE ON MY TEAM
I hope you enjoyed this month's edition of my newsletter. If you have any questions or need to bring an issue to my attention, please call my office at 202-724-8174 or reach out to my team.
·         Robert White |  Councilmember  |  rwhite@dccouncil.us

·         Mtokufa Ngwenya  | Chief of Staff |  mngwenya@dccouncil.us

·         Shawn Hilgendorf  | Legislative Director shilgendorf@dccouncil.us

·         Breanna Bledsoe  | Legislative Counsel |  bbledsoe@dccouncil.us

·         Rebekah Caruthers  | Communications Director |  rcaruthers@dccouncil.us

·         Luz E. Martínez  | Staff Assistant / Scheduler |  lmartinez@dccouncil.us

·         Andre Strickland  | Constituent Services Coordinator astrickland@dccouncil.us
My Best,

Robert
Robert C. White, Jr. Councilmember, At-Large | Council of the District of Columbia
Phone: (202) 724-8174 | Fax: (202) 727-8210 |  www.RobertWhiteAtLarge.com