WASHINGTON (WNEW) — Having a white, openly gay, non-Democrat in the mayor’s office would be a trifecta of firsts if David Catania wins.
He’s won citywide office before, serving as an at-large councilmember for 17 years. Running for mayor, he says, is different.
“I’ve had a great, great experience,” Catania says. “I wouldn’t trade anything for this journey.”
Catania’s famously hot temper may have cooled in recent years, but he won’t apologize for his style.
“The population doesn’t much mind that I have a style that is driven and that is based and rooted in passion,” Catania says. “I’m guilty as charged. I’m not going to give the city away. I don’t work for lobbyists, I don’t work for interests, I work for the people of the city and I’m a ‘what you see is what you get’ proposition.”
That passion pushed him to lead the way on gay marriage in D.C. and rescue the faltering United Medical Center, the District’s only hospital east of the Anacostia.
“Tackling big challenges sometimes means that not everyone gets their way,” Catania says.
As for the population that’s struggling to make it during a very prosperous time in D.C., Catania says “We have to provide stable housing and then re-engage individuals to put them on a path towards self-sufficiency.”
Catania’s latest crusade has been improving D.C. schools. During the past year and a half, he’s chaired the council’s education committee.
Critics argue he’s been too heavy-handed, but Catania says the stakes are too high not to press for faster reform.
“Our failed education system has created a legacy of many individuals who require a great deal of assistance,” Catania says.
Catania often says he’ll stick his neck out for a cause he believes in.
Catania is consistently coming in second in the polls, often behind by double digits but still much closer than expected since three-quarters of D.C.’s voters are Democrats.
Note: While Catania and Carol Schwartz agreed to one-on-one interviews for our candidate profiles, Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser did not. Check in with All-News 99.1 as we go in-depth on several big races across the region.