David Catania, Washington, DC, 1997
David Catania (I)
Born January 16, 1968
At Large Councilmember
Chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1996-97
Elected to the Council in a special election, December 1997
Re-elected November 1998, 2002, 2004
In September 2004, switched from Republican to Independent
Essay by David Catania for Out and Elected in the USA
When I first ran for the Council at the age of 29, I vowed that I would fight for the Common Good of all D.C. citizens. I could no longer watch a failing government incapable of carrying out such basic services as health care, education, and police protection while its citizens pay some of the highest taxes in the country. Despite a voting population that is overwhelming Democratic, by a factor of 11 to 1 over Republicans, the District voters have twice gone to the ballot box to give me the opportunity to help turn the District government around. I am not sure which was the biggest initial hurdle for me, my party affiliation or my sexual orientation. Whatever the case, I am honored to have been elected as the District's first openly gay Councilmember.
Since my election, it has been one long roller coaster ride, taking on issue after issue, agency after agency, and host of constituent concerns in between. I have successfully overhauled the District's failing drug treatment program, established a Office of Women's Health, reformed the District's local advisory neighborhood commissions, insisted upon more police on the streets, and authored the largest tax cuts in the District's history. Also, on my plate is legislation that would offer incentives to high-tech companies to locate in the District another to encourage the development of brownfields, and efforts to promote greater savings by individuals for such necessities as housing, medical costs, and education.
As a gay elected official, I have taken the opportunity to look after our community's interests. When I was first elected, the District's Agency for HIV/AIDS was in a total state of disrepair, failing to meet the needs of those living with AIDS in a city with one of the highest rates of infection in the country. Through rigorous oversight and constant vigilance, the agency appears to be functioning better.
As a gay Republican, I have taken the opportunity to work with the leadership of Republican Party, members of congress, and candidates to dispel some of their views about gays and lesbians. When I was running in my first campaign, I was pleased to have the support of the local Republican Committee and even the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Now that I have been serving as a very visible Councilmember, their support, along with the support of other Republicans, couldn't be stronger.