My name is Randy Downs and I’m running to represent Ward 2 on the DC Council. I’m entering this race because I believe residents deserve an authentic leader who knows the people and issues of Ward 2.
The District of Columbia is a proud progressive city in many ways, but more needs to be done to advocate for those who are left behind. We also need to protect what’s working, especially in hard times.
My Journey From Missouri
Growing up in rural Missouri taught me a lot about inequity and how we can all do more to look after our neighbors. I believe the policies that we’re governed by should lift people up, especially when they are most in need.
As a child, I lived in a trailer home at the end of a gravel dirt road. My mother worked at a meat processing plant and my father was a self-employed carpenter. At age 13, I started working in a restaurant as a busser and dishwasher to help support my family.
I learned about humility and hard work–but also struggle– at a young age. I knew I wanted to make an impact and make things better for families like mine.
I was the first person in my family to graduate college. Missouri is a deep red state, but that didn’t stop me from fighting alongside labor leaders to raise the state’s minimum wage and work to protect our community’s drinking water from toxic coal ash contamination. My childhood taught me how much working families like mine needed these policy changes, regardless of what powerful elected officials or special interests might stand in our way.
Although I grew up in Missouri, it wasn’t until I visited DC for the first time on a youth leadership trip with the Sierra Club that I found a community where I felt truly at home and welcomed for who I am.
During this trip, I visited Dupont Circle, where I’ve lived for the past nine years with my partner, Dylan. I moved to DC in 2011 for a job at the Sierra Club, working to train thousands of community organizers across the country. Through the Stonewall LGBTQ sports league, I met close friends. I also volunteered at local organizations like Whitman Walker Health, DC Center for the LGBT Community, and Casa Ruby.
I was happily engaging in my Dupont community, but in 2013 everything stopped when I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a long battle, but with my partner and support from my friends, I was able to endure chemotherapy and ultimately recover. This experience only increased my determination to fight– not just for myself and my goals, but for everyone around me.
For the past four years, I served as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Dupont Circle. I listened, learned, and acted to make my neighborhood more livable for everyone. During my service, I advocated for stronger investments in affordable housing and protections for transgender residents and DC’s large LGBTQ community more broadly. I also worked to make desperately needed safety and accessibility improvements to the city’s transportation infrastructure and beloved parks.
As the President of the Friends of Stead Park, I successfully advocated for funding for a 100% environmentally sustainable community center. I am committed to investing in our parks and public spaces, especially at a time when we’re using outdoor spaces as a safe place to meet and exercise more than ever before.
I’m proud to have championed change in Ward 2 already but I know more can be done to improve the lives of all people who call Ward 2 — and DC — home. Ward 2 is my home, and I hope you will join me to support this people-powered campaign, and vote for me, Randy Downs, on November 3rd.