Musical Chairs

Democratic State Committee nears Jan. 6 vote to determine interim at-large councilmember

When he assumes the role of mayor next month D.C. City Council Chairman Vince Gray (D) will be handing his council seat to Councilmember Kwame Brown (D-At Large). That, in turn, leaves Brown’s seat open, to be filled with a special election in April. Meanwhile, the Democratic State Committee will vote Jan. 6 for an interim councilmember to fill the seat Brown will shortly vacate.

Seven candidates are in the running for that position, including Saul Solorzano, endorsed by the D.C. Latino Caucus, and Sekou Biddle, endorsed by the D.C. Young Democrats.

”The D.C. City Charter requires the state party to appoint someone until the special election is held in April,” explains David Meadows, executive director of D.C. Democratic Party and former president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club.

Eighty people serve on the Democratic State Committee. Two of those seats are filled by people representing the D.C.’s LGBT community: Jeffrey Richardson, current president of the Stein Club, and Alexandra Beninda, the first transgender person to serve on committee. She also serves as treasurer of the Stein Club.

And while the competition is fierce, Richardson says the Stein Club has not yet decided whom they will endorse, if anyone.

”We’re definitely still looking at the pool of candidates,” he says. ”What I’m certain on is that the members want to see a real progressor.

”We want to feel confident that whoever is joining the council will stand up and defend the rights that we’ve gained here in the District, and won’t waiver under congressional pressure.”