As the District’s first elected attorney general, Karl A. Racine shaped the office, elevating its importance and prominence. He instituted reforms of the juvenile justice system, established a consumer protection bureau, cracked down on slum landlords, and joined with other attorneys general to win settlements on opioids and address issues of national importance such as voting rights, environmental protection and reproductive problems.
Mr. Racine decided not to seek a third term. Maintaining and building on the excellence of the position will fall to his successor elected in this year’s elections. Competing in the crucial Democratic primary on June 21, now that DC Councilman Kenyan R. McDuffie (Ward 5) has suspended his campaign after being ruled ineligible to hold office, there are three candidates: Ryan Jones , Bruce V. Spiva and brian schwalb. Overshadowing other issues has been controversy over the law establishing attorney general credentials and whether Mr. McDuffie complied with them; Mr. Spiva contested his candidacy, and a ruling by the Board of Elections, later upheld by a federal appeals court panel, found that Mr. McDuffie did not meet the criteria of being actively engaged in the practice of law for five of the 10 years prior to the election.
Mr. Spiva and Mr. Schwalb have a lot to offer. Mr. Spiva, who has been practicing law in DC for nearly three decades, has an admirable record of taking on cases on voting rights, consumer protection and antitrust issues. While some have criticized him for challenging Mr. McDuffie’s candidacy, he is not to be blamed for fighting for what he believed to be a correct reading of the law. That said, we are very impressed by Mr. Schwalb; We wholeheartedly support his candidacy.
A lifelong DC resident, longtime trial attorney, and partner-in-charge of the Venable Law Firm’s office in the District, Mr. Schwalb has the experience, skills, and judgment to manage an agency that has more than 700 employees and faces countless legal problems. He has the right priorities (fair housing, equitable justice, civil rights, environmental protection) and a passionate commitment to using the law to address inequalities. He understands the need for the city to better control crime, but has the sensitivity not to advocate a return to failed policies of indiscriminate incarceration. He promises to pay attention to problems before they become obvious problems. He acknowledges the need to restore the toxic relationship between the attorney general’s office and the mayor’s office, a less admirable legacy of Racine’s tenure. And his community work, including with nonprofits like Conscious Capitalism, which empowers business leaders to uplift humanity, and the Abramson Scholarship Foundation, which provides financial aid and mentorship to DC public high school graduates who they attend four-year colleges, they give you a foreground. see the needs of Washingtonians, many of whom are struggling.
Voting will begin early this year in DC, with registered voters receiving a ballot in the mail beginning May 16. We urge voters to elect Mr. Schwalb.