Muriel Elizabeth Bowser // (born August 2, 1972) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party currently serving as the eighth Mayor of the District of Columbia. Prior to her inauguration in January 2015, Bowser served as a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, representing Ward 4.
|8th Mayor of the District of Columbia|
January 2, 2015
|Preceded by||Vincent Gray|
|Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
from Ward 4
January 2, 2007 – January 2, 2015
|Preceded by||Adrian Fenty|
|Succeeded by||Brandon Todd|
|Born||Muriel Elizabeth Bowser
August 2, 1972
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||Chatham University (BA)
American University (MPP)
Elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in 2004, Bowser was elected to the Council in a special election in 2007, to succeed Adrian Fenty, who had been elected Mayor. She was re-elected in 2008 and 2012 and ran for Mayor in the 2014 election. She defeated incumbent Mayor Vincent C. Gray in the Democratic primary and won the general election against three Independent and two minor party candidates with 54.53% of the vote. She is the second woman to be elected Mayor, after Sharon Pratt Kelly.
Early life and educationEdit
The youngest of six children of Joe and Joan Bowser, Muriel E. Bowser grew up in North Michigan Park in northeast D.C. In 1990, Bowser graduated from Elizabeth Seton High School, a private all-girls Catholic high school located in Bladensburg, Maryland. She received a college scholarship due to her excellent grades. Bowser graduated from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor's degree in history, and she graduated from the American University School of Public Affairs with a Masters in Public Policy. In 2015, she bought a home in Colonial Village,  moving from a Riggs Park duplex where she had lived since 2000. She is a lifelong Catholic. Bowser says she never envisioned herself as a politician or mayor, but possibly as an agency administrator.
Political career 2004–2014Edit
Advisory Neighborhood CommissionEdit
Bowser began her political career in 2004, running unopposed for the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC). She represented Single Member District 4B09, which includes the neighborhood of Riggs Park. She was unopposed again in 2006 when she ran for re-election for the position.
Council of the District of ColumbiaEdit
Adrian Fenty, member of the Council of the District of Columbia representing Ward 4, ran for mayor of the District. Bowser was his campaign coordinator for Ward 4. When Fenty was elected mayor in 2006, a special election was called to fill his council seat. Bowser, among many others, announced her candidacy for it.
During a political forum with 17 of the 19 council candidates in attendance, Bowser was the only candidate present who supported Fenty's proposed takeover of the District public school system, saying that the school system needed to change.
Other critics took note of developers who had contributed to Bowser's campaign, claiming she would favor developers over her constituents. While an ANC commissioner, Bowser had voted in favor of a zoning variance for a condominium development to be built by a developer who had contributed several hundred dollars to her campaign, which some critics derided as a conflict of interest. Bowser maintained that she had supported the development project before running for Council.
The editorial page of The Washington Post favored Bowser in the election. The local councils of the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, and the Fraternal Order of Police also endorsed Bowser in the election, but the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees endorsed her opponent, Michael A. Brown.
Bowser won the special election with 40% of the vote.
In 2008, Bowser announced her reelection campaign for the Council. Three individuals ran against her in the Democratic primary, namely: Baruti Akil Jahi, former president of the Shepherd Park Citizens Association; Malik Mendenhall-Johnson, then serving as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner of 4B04; and Paul E. Montague, who had been Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner of 4B07 before being recalled in 2004. Both Jahi and Mendenhall-Johnson criticized Bowser, saying she was a rubber stamp for Mayor Fenty and that she was unconcerned with her constituents' needs.
Bowser won the Democratic Party primary election, receiving 75 percent of votes. Jahi received 19%, Montague received 3%, and Mendenhall-Johnson received 2%. With no one else appearing on the subsequent general election ballot, Bowser won the general election with 97 percent of the vote.
In 2011, Bowser was appointed to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority board of governors, on which she served until 2015.
Bowser ran for reelection in 2012. Bowser said she would not turn down donations from corporations. Candidate Max Skolnik criticized Bowser for receiving campaign contributions from developers, corporate bundlers, and lobbyists, saying that Bowser would favor the interests of these corporate donors. Bowser said she was not in favor of banning corporations from making political donations altogether, saying that doing so would make it more difficult to track where campaign donations come from. She also said that corporations are banned from donating to federal elections, but that corporations still find ways to give to campaigns.
Bowser won the Democratic primary with 66% of the vote, to Renee L. Bowser's (no relation) 13%, Max Skolnik's 9%, Baruti Jahi's 5%, Judi Jones' 3%, and Calvin Gurley's 2%. Unopposed in the general election, she was elected with 97% of the vote.
Mayor of the District of ColumbiaEdit
Bowser emphasized that she can connect with longtime residents concerned about the rapid changes occurring in the District, while still celebrating the changes that had occurred. Bowser disdained business-as-usual and corruption in the District's government. She favored free Metro fares for students. She was against increasing for the minimum wage only for employees of large retailers. Bowser was criticized for being too inexperienced for the position, with too few legislative accomplishments while on the Council, and for having a platform that was short on details. She limited the number of debates by only agreeing to participate after the field of candidates had been set, which postponed the first debate until August.
In the general election, Bowser was on the ballot with Independents David Catania, Nestor Djonkam and Carol Schwartz, D.C. Statehood Green Faith Dane and Libertarian Bruce Majors. No Republican filed. Bowser won the election with 80,824 votes (54.53%) to Catania's 35% and Schwarz's 7%, and took office on January 2, 2015.
During her first year as Mayor, the District saw a 40% increase in homicides. In July 2015, Bowser attributed the spike in violence to the sale of synthetic marijuana and proposed measures granting police additional authorities for a crackdown on stores selling the substance. After violence continued unabated, in October 2015 Bowser proposed legislation allowing law enforcement officials to perform warrantless searches of violent ex-offenders. The bill was widely opposed by citizen's groups and the D.C. Council.
Bowser pledged to end chronic homelessness in the District. During the winter of 2015, the District saw an increase in homelessness of 250 percent from any previous year as families were sheltered in hotel rooms. In February 2016, Bowser unveiled a plan to provide housing for homeless families following the closure of DC General. Without any community consultation or input, Bowser announced the location of one shelter in each of the District's eight wards and refused to say how the sites were selected. In March 2016, it was revealed that many of the sites selected were connected to Bowser's contributors. Under Bowser's plan, the monthly cost per unit was $4,500 on average each year for at least the next 20 years. Frustrated by the DC Council's efforts to devise a better plan, Bowser lashed out with expletives at Chairman Phil Mendelson.
In 2015, Bowser's allies formed FreshPAC, a political action committee intended to advance her agenda. The initiative was the first PAC in District politics so closely aligned with a sitting mayor and created by a former campaign treasurer. Thanks to a legislative loophole regulating off-year fundraising, FreshPAC accepted unlimited contributions. Bowser supporters had quickly raised more than $300,000 and had a goal of collecting $1 million by year’s end. FreshPAC was chaired by Earle “Chico” Horton III, a lobbyist for a major corporation that sought Bowser's support. Many of the highest donors participated in a trip to China with the mayor. Following outcry from the Washington Post, members of the D.C. Council, and other stakeholders, FreshPAC was shut down in November 2015. Bowser said she thought FreshPAC was a good thing but its message was distorted.
In February 2016, Bowser's appointee as medical director of the fire department resigned from her post after one year on the job. Explaining her decision, Jullette Saussy said that she could not be complicit in a failed agency and that its performance was putting Washingtonian's lives at risk. In response, Bowser's spokersperson said that she was committed to achieving change. 
In October 2015, Bowser changed her position to support the $6.4-billion merger between two public utilities, Exelon and Pepco. Opponents of the merger decried the lack of transparency in the deal and Bowser's reversal. Community activists raised ethics concerns, claiming that Bowser was swayed by a $25 million pledge to rename the future MLS Soccer Stadium as Pepco Park. In December 2015, it was revealed that Exelon had paid the chairman of FreshPAC, a political action committee affiliated with Bowser's allies, as a lobbyist.
Under Bowser, the school placement lottery which awards prized enrollments at public schools, was manipulated to reward senior officials in the administration. Deputy Mayor Courtney Snowden, who makes $196,000 a year and was among the senior officials, jumped a waitlist of more than 1000 names to enroll her child. 
In April 2016, the DC Trust, a government-funded entity that disburses grants throughout the district to non-profits providing youth services, declared bankruptcy and announced plans to fold. Bowser had recently provided $700,000 in taxpayer funding and appointed four members to the board of the organization, also known as the City Youth Investment Trust Corp. Bowser's representatives did not know how much of the funding remained or how youth services could be continued. Earlier, former councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. was found guilty on felony charges for embezzling $350,000 of the trust's funds.
In 2015, Bowser announced Vision Zero, a traffic safety initiative that aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024. To launch the event, Bowser, supporters, and DC government employees stood at intersections and waved green signs imploring motorists to slow down.  The following year, the number of traffic fatalities increased from 26 to 28 and the number of crash injuries increased from 12,122 to 12,430. 
In February 2015, Bowser cancelled the creation of a public facility for art exhibitions, lectures and educational activities by the Institute for Contemporary Expression. Approved by Gray, the project involved a privately funded conversion of the historic but unused Franklin School and had its first event planned for September 2015. Bowser cited financial concerns for the decision, but critics noted that several of the firms who earlier competed unsuccessfully for the property were among her donors. As of October 2015, proposals were still being considered.
In September 2015, Bowser announced a deal with Monumental Sports owner Ted Leonsis to build a practice facility for the Washington Wizards. Under the deal, District taxpayers would pay 90 percent of the estimated $55 million cost. The government's portion was split between direct government expenditure and Events DC, a DC-government funded body which operates with an independent board. Bowser opposed efforts to cap the taxpayer-funded portion in the event of cost overruns. In July 2016, before construction had started, it was announced that costs would exceed estimates by $10 million while the number of seats in the facility would likely decrease.
As part of her first State of the District Address in March 2015, Bowser promised that the DC Streetcar would open by the end of the year. In 2016, the Streetcar still required several certifications and testing phases but the DC Streetcar's H Street/Benning line eventually began public service operations on February 27, 2016.
In January 2016, the District was paralyzed by an inch of snow on untreated roads. More than 1,000 accidents were reported and some commuters abandoned their cars amidst impassable roads. Bowser apologized for an inadequate response, explaining that "we should have been there earlier".
For a larger storm later in the same season, a report by the DC auditor found that the District had spent over $40 million on removal, much of it charged to the District's credit cards. The District incurred tens of thousands of dollars in credit card fees. In an unprecedented move, JPMorgan Chase shut off the government's line of credit until some of the card balances could be paid. Some of the contractors who benefited most from the snow removal expenses were important Bowser donors, the DC auditor found. 
Although Bowser supports the outfitting of Metropolitan Police Department with body cameras and has requested $6 million in her 2016 budget proposal to complete the task, she also included a provision that would make all footage from the cameras exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests, with the goal "to respect privacy".
|Democratic||Muriel E. Bowser||966||98|
|Democratic||Muriel E. Bowser||601||90|
|Democratic||Michael A. Brown||3,433||27|
|Democratic||Dwight E. Singleton||602||5|
|D.C. Statehood Green||Renee Bowser||583||5|
|Democratic||Graylan Scott Hagler||468||4|
|Democratic||Robert G. Childs||339||3|
|Democratic||Lisa P. Bass||110||1|
|Democratic||Douglas Ned Sloan||98||1|
|Democratic||Marlena D. Edwards||97||1|
|Democratic||T. A. Uqdah||82||1|
|Democratic||Lisa Comfort Bradford||72||1|
|Democratic||Michael T. Green||49||0|
|Democratic||Paul E. Montague||302||3|
|Democratic||Malik F. Mendenhall-Johnson||236||2|
|Democratic||Renee L. Bowser||1,523||13|
|Democratic||Muriel E. Bowser||42,045||43|
|Democratic||Vincent C. Gray||31,613||33|
|Democratic||Muriel E. Bowser||88,439||54|
|Independent||David A. Catania||57,375||35|
|D.C. Statehood Green||Faith Dane||1,348||1|
- DeBonis, Mike (March 4, 2014). "Five things you don't know about Muriel Bowser, promising 'fresh start' as D.C. mayor". The Washington Post.
- Stewart, Nikita. In Primary, Bowser Asserts Independence. The Washington Post. August 20, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
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- Suderman, Alan (April 26, 2013). "Muriel's Vetting". Washington City Paper.
- Drake, Ingrid. Possible Contenders in the Ward 4 Race (pdf). DC North. January 2007.
- Jaffe, Harry (24 September 2014). "Muriel Bowser Is No Adrian Fenty". Washingtonian.
- Certified Summary Results (pdf). District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. November 18, 2004.
- Woodlee, Yolanda; Silverman, Elissa. "Hopefuls Begin Staking Out Fenty's and Gray's Seats", The Washington Post. 2006-09-20.
- Ward 4 with ANC & SMD Boundary. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- "Certified Official Results Report". District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. November 21, 2006. Archived from the original (pdf) on November 30, 2006.
- Silverman, Elissa. Fenty a Strong Presence in Crowded Ward 4 Race to Replace Him. The Washington Post. 2007-01-23.
- Silverman, Elissa; Woodlee, Yolanda. Fenty's School Takeover Plan Gets Rough Reception. The Washington Post. 2007-03-02.
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- Woodlee, Yolanda. Candidates Focus On Fundraising In Wards 4, 7, The Washington Post. 2007-03-06.
- Woodlee, Yolanda. Top Fundraisers Feel The Heat in Ward 4. The Washington Post. 2007-04-27.
- Woodlee, Yolanda; Silverman, Elissa. Who Will Fenty Support in Ward 7?, The Washington Post. March 8, 2007.
- The D.C. Special Election: Muriel Bowser in Ward 4 and Victor Vandell in Ward 7 are the best bets for council. The Washington Post. 2007-04-15.
- Muriel Bowser Receives the Metropolitan Council, AFL-CIO Endorsement (pdf). Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008. Press release. 2007-04-10.
- Silverman, Elissa; Labb, Theola. Dueling Endorsements for Vacant Seats. The Washington Post. 2007-03-22.
- Muriel Bowser Endorsed By The Fraternal Order of Police, Metropolitan Police Department Labor Committee (pdf). Fraternal Order of Police, Metropolitan Police Department Labor Committee. Press release. 2007-03-15.
- Certified Official Results Report (pdf). District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. May 11, 2007.
- List of Candidates for the September 9, 2008 Congressional and Council Primary Election (pdf). District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. 2008-07-03.
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- Stewart, Nikita R. And They're Off! The Washington Post. 2008-05-11.
- Stewart, Nikita. "In Primary, Bowser Asserts Independence". The Washington Post. August 20, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2008.
- "The D.C. Council Primary: Our choices in next Tuesday's election". The Washington Post. September 3, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2008.
- DeBonis, Mike. Incumbents Rake In Stein Club Endorsements. Washington City Paper. 2008-06-19.
- Certified Results. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. September 26, 2008.
- "List of Candidates in Ballot Order for the November 4, 2008 General Election" (PDF). District of Columbia Board of Board of Elections and Ethics.
- Certified Results. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. November 24, 2008.
- Bowser, Bulger join Metro Board; New members represent the District of Columbia July 21, 2011 WMATA.com
- Two D.C. Council members concerned by Metro hiring practices By Chuck Neubauer - Washington Times - Sunday, April 15, 2012
- Muriel Bowser talks Metro, bikes, development, education, and more by David Alpert; GreaterGreaterWashington.org October 13, 2014
- Suderman, Alan (January 20, 2012). "Bowser Defends Corporate Giving, And Lots of It". Washington City Paper.
- Stewart, Nikita (March 8, 2012). "Bowser looks to be bouncing back". The Washington Post. p. B1.
- "Our choices for D.C. Council" (editorial). The Washington Post. March 18, 2012. p. A20.
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- Suderman, Alan (July 30, 2012). "How Many People Does It Take to Host a Party?". Washington City Paper.
- Certified Results. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. November 6, 2012.
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- Noble, Andrea (April 16, 2014). "Minority parties see power grab for D.C. vote". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014.
- DeBonis, Mike (March 4, 2014). "Muriel Bowser tries to escape Fenty's shadow, other Gray challengers in D.C. mayor race". The Washington Post.
- DeBonis, Mike (June 26, 2013). "Sales tax cut likely to get D.C. Council's okay". The Washington Post.
- DeBonis, Mike (June 27, 2013). "Higher minimum pay nearer in District". The Washington Post. p. B1.
- McCartney, Robert (February 10, 2014). "Muriel Bowser seems to be the candidate to beat among rivals to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray". The Washington Post.
- Barras, Jonetta Rose (September 10, 2014). "Muriel Bowser runs for mayor, ready or not" (editorial). The Washington Post.
- King, Colbert (September 10, 2014). "Muriel Bowser runs for mayor, ready or not". The Washington Post.
- Freed, Benjamin (February 25, 2013). "Political Groups Line Up to Endorse DC's Mayoral Candidates, Real and Hypothetical". Washingtonian Magazine.
- "Muriel Bowser for District Mayor" (editorial). The Washington Post. February 20, 2014.
- DeBonis, Mike (April 2, 2014). "Muriel Bowser wins". The Washington Post.
- "Sample Ballot, General Election, November 4, 2014" (PDF). District of Columbia Board of Elections. 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
- DeBonis, Mikie; Davis, Aaron C. (November 5, 2014). "Bowser is elected D.C. mayor, defeating independents Catania and Schwartz". The Washington Post.
- Davis, Aaron (21 October 2015). "D.C. mayor's plan for 'warrantless searches' appears dead on arrival". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- Noble, Andrea (10 July 2010). "D.C. mayor signs emergency bill to crack down on synthetic drugs". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- Davis, Aaron (31 October 2015). "More D.C. families are living in homeless shelters at the start of winter than ever before — and it's by design". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- McDermott, Ryan (21 October 2015). "D.C. mayor's homeless shelter plan lacks transparency, critics say". Washington Times. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Davis, Aaron (9 February 2017). "District mayor reveals sites proposed for homeless shelters across city". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Davis, Aaron (31 October 2015). "D.C. mayor refuses to say how she picked sites for new homeless shelters". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- Davis, Aaron (16 March 2016). "Homeless shelter plan could be profitable for Bowser's backers". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Nirappali, Firat (17 May 2016). "D.C. Council head blasts Bowser for 'obfuscation" over shelters; she fires back with expletive". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
- Davis, Aaron C. (October 20, 2015). "Divided D.C. Council takes aim at Mayor Bowser's super PAC". The Washington Post.
- Davis, Aaron C. (November 11, 2015). "D.C. mayor's allies reluctantly shut down controversial PAC". The Washington Post.
- "FreshPAC's chairman lobbying for Exelon was legal, but unseemly". The Washington Post. December 18, 2015.
- Davis, Aaron C. (November 7, 2015). "D.C. mayor's delegation to China includes some top PAC contributors". The Washington Post.
- Holman, Craig (April 15, 2016). "There's nothing to fear in fair elections". The Washington Post.
- Hermann, Peter (February 9, 2016). "D.C. fire department medical director resigns, delivers scathing exit letter". The Washington Post.
- Davis, Aaron C. (October 6, 2015). "D.C. Mayor reverses course and backs Pepco-Exelon merger". The Washington Post.
- Davis, Aaron C. (November 11, 2015). "Opponents of Pepco-Exelon merger call for ethics investigation of Bowser". The Washington Post.
- Madden, Patrick (December 16, 2015). "Exelon Paid FreshPAC Chairman To Lobby D.C. Government About Merger". WAMU.
- Jamison, Peter (10 May 2017). "Second mayoral appointee identified in school-lottery scandal". The Washington Post. Washington DC. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- Jamison, Peter (17 May 2017). "Secret report shows 'special' treatment for public officials in D.C. school lottery". Washington DC. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- Davis, Aaron C. (April 26, 2016). "Mismanagement has bankrupted a D.C. nonprofit, endangering programs for at-risk youths, board members say". The Washington Post.
- GIAMBRONE, Andrew (April 24, 2015). "Bowser Kicks Off First Day of School With "Slow Down" Campaign". The Washington City Paper.
- DiCaro, Martin (March 31, 2017). "How Is D.C. Doing One Year Into 'Vision Zero' Plan To Eliminate Roadway Fatalities?". The Washington City Paper.
- Kennicott, Philip (November 11, 2015). "A setback for D.C. arts and culture, years in the making". The Washington Post.
- Capps, Kriston (February 13, 2015). "Six Reasons Bowser Should Reconsider Pulling ICE from the Franklin School". The Washington City Paper.
- Clabaugh, Jeff (October 23, 2015). "D.C. receives new proposals for historic Franklin School". Washington Business Journal.
- Sommer, Will (September 15, 2015). "Taxes Will Fund 90 Percent of Wizards Practice Site". washingtoncitypaper.com.
- Pyke, Alan (March 22, 2016). "Taxpayer-Backed Arena Deal Gets New Scrutiny Amid Radical Housing Shortage". Thinkprogress.org.
- O'Connell, Jonathan (July 28, 2016). "Cost of Wizards practice facility rises $10 million before construction can even begin". Washington Post.
- Laris, Michael (April 1, 2015). "Big challenges in D.C. Mayor Bowser's vow to activate, expand streetcar line". The Washington Post.
- Freed, Benjamin (December 4, 2015). "The DC Streetcar Won't Run in 2015". Washingtonian.
- Michael Laris (2016-02-27). "D.C. Streetcar Makes It's First Voyages". Washington Post.
- Barbash, Fred (January 21, 2016). "An inch of snow, icy roads unleash 9 hours of traffic chaos across D.C. region". Washington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Devorak, Petula (January 21, 2016). "Forget ISIS. The most powerful city on earth can't handle a dusting of snow". Washington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Davis, Aaron (January 11, 2017). "For 1 storm, D.C. spent $40 million on snow removal, some of the funds improperly, audit finds". Washington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
- Washington City Paper: "Bowser Wants Body Cam Footage Exempt from Open Records Law" by Will Sommer April 13, 2015
- Huffington Post: "D.C. Mayor Doesn't Want You To See Police Body Camera Footage" by Jason Cherkis April 14, 2015
- Washington Post: "D.C. Council raises alarms over Mayor Bowser’s budget" By Aaron C. Davis April 13, 2015
- "Mayoral Primary Official Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. April 1, 2014.
- "General Election Official Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. November 4, 2014.
|Council of the District of Columbia|
|Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
from Ward 4
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Mayor of the District of Columbia
|Mayor of the District of Columbia