Meet the 2014 D.C. Mayoral Candidates: Vincent Orange
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Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of profiles on the candidates running for D.C. mayor in 2014. Click here to read all the profiles.
Vincent Orange is familiar name to D.C. voters. He’s appeared on the ballot 10 times since 1990, winning races for Ward 5 and at-large seats on the D.C. Council. This is his second run for mayor; his first was in 2006.
Originally from Oakland, California, Orange came to D.C. to attend law school at Howard University and later received his Master of Laws in Taxation from Georgetown University.
His first electoral victory came in 1998, when he won the first of two terms representing Ward 5 in the D.C. Council. After an unsuccessful run for mayor, Orange was hired as a regional vice president for Pepco. He returned to the council in 2011, claiming an at-large seat in a special election and winning a full four-year term in 2012.
Orange lives in Michigan Park.
Orange outlined his positions on several issues in a recent interview with WNEW D.C. Bureau Chief Matt DelSignore.
Unlike many of his rivals, Orange doesn’t feel middle schools should be the main focal point in reforming D.C.’s public education system; he says his priority is measuring basic abilities like reading and writing at a younger age. Orange didn’t commit to keeping Kaya Henderson as chancellor.
Orange says Mayor Vincent Gray’s commitment of $187 million to expand affordable housing availability falls short. He pledges a $1 billion investment over the next 10 years.
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When it comes to the mayor’s proposal to bring a new soccer stadium to Buzzard Point, Orange wants to hear more information about the value of the Reeves Center before swapping it with a private developer. He also wants to guarantee some form of daytime use at the property and analyze how the transaction would affect the entire U Street corridor.
Orange voted with his council colleagues to decriminalize possessing small amounts of marijuana, yet he thinks additional legislation is needed to prevent discrimination in the workplace. He hesitates on backing legalization, echoing questions raised by California Governor Jerry Brown and wondering whether it could lead to D.C. becoming a “stoned state.”
“It’s clear that [Fire and EMS Chief Ken] Ellerbe is at the end of his career in the nation’s capital,” says Orange. MPD Chief Cathy Lanier “is doing a great job,” but he’d like to ask her if she’s still excited about the job. Of the broader “culture” of the fire and police rank-and-file, Orange has doubts: “I don’t know if they’re really here with us 100%.”
Does the District have too many, too few or just the right number of traffic cameras? Orange chooses the first option. “We’ve lucked upon on a cash cow and now we don’t know how to pull back from it.”