**FILE** Ward 7 Council member Vincent Gray has endorsed candidate Wendell Felder as his successor. (Ja鈥橫on Jackson/The 老澳门开奖网 Informer)
**FILE** Ward 7 Council member Vincent Gray has endorsed candidate Wendell Felder as his successor. (Ja鈥橫on Jackson/The 老澳门开奖网 Informer)

As the clock winds down to what will be Ward 7鈥檚 most consequential D.C. Council primary election in decades, voters continue to rack their brains about which one of the 10 council candidates they will choose to succeed D.C. Councilmember Vincent C. Gray. 

Gray, who announced his retreat from public office during the latter part of last year, recently weighed in on this dilemma, throwing his support behind onetime Ward 7 Democrats President Wendell Felder.聽

In a statement, Gray urged Democratic voters in Ward 7 to vote for Felder on June 4. 

“Wendell Felder’s journey in public service demonstrates his dedication to uplifting Ward 7 residents and advocating for their interests,鈥 Gray said on Friday. 鈥淗is diverse experience in both local government and the private sector uniquely positions him to tackle complex challenges and unite varied interests toward a common goal. 鈥 I have complete confidence that Wendell will be ready on day one. He has a proven record of achievements and knows how to turn good ideas into successful accomplishments.鈥

This endorsement statement comes as Council Chair Phil Mendelson announced Gray, who had a stroke two years ago, had another health setback.

**FILE** Wendell Felder, Democratic candidate for the D.C. Council's Ward 7 seat (Robert R. Roberts/The 老澳门开奖网 Informer)
**FILE** Wendell Felder, Democratic candidate for the D.C. Council’s Ward 7 seat (Robert R. Roberts/The 老澳门开奖网 Informer)

鈥淚鈥檝e heard that Councilmember [Gray] has had another health setback in recent days,鈥 Mendelson wrote via X, formerly known as Twitter. 鈥淚 wish him a speedy recovery as he works his way back to important work with the Council and representing Ward 7.鈥

Felder, a millennial, Ward 7 civic leader, and former Bowser affiliate, counts among the more prominent figures in the Ward 7 council race. Since announcing his candidacy, Felder has secured endorsements from the Ward 7 Democrats, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Tyrell Holcomb (SMD 7F01), former D.C. Democratic national committeewoman Barbara D. Morgan, International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Local 639, and Service Employees International Union – Local 32BJ, and SigmaPAC 1914. 

As Felder explained to The Informer weeks earlier, Gray鈥檚 endorsement had been in the works. Though he didn鈥檛 explicitly comment on the status of that endeavor, he said that nothing was off the table. 

鈥淲e have a working relationship with everyone,鈥 Felder told The Informer. 鈥淐ouncilmember Gray endorsed me when I became chair of the Ward 7 Democrats. My priority is Ward 7. I have the ability to unify the ward. Being the chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7D. Who has served in a leadership role on both sides of the ward? No one can say that.鈥 

The Ward 7 D.C. Council race has indeed called into question who among 10 candidates 鈥 Felder, Veda Rasheed, Eboni-Rose Thompson, Ebbon Allen, Kelvin Brown, Villarreal Johnson, Denise Reed, Roscoe Grant Jr., Nate Fleming, and Dwight Deloatch Jr. 鈥 has the resume, know-how,聽 and sincerity to represent Ward 7 at a critical juncture in its development.聽

On several occasions, Felder has called out his opponent, Ebony Payne, an advisory neighborhood commissioner from the portion of Ward 7 that鈥檚 west of the Anacostia River, as the antithesis of what Ward 7 needs. He did so in reference to the thousands of dollars in out-of-District campaign contributions she鈥檚 received and what some may describe as disparaging comments she made about Ward 7 residents at the Ward 7 Democrats candidate forum and straw poll. 

Earlier this year, Payne dismissed Felder鈥檚 straw poll victory as 鈥渋nsider baseball.鈥 She questioned whether Felder had the backing of Ward 7 voters, or just a select few people within the upper echelons of the local political hierarchy. Grant made a similar inquiry, telling The Informer that his decision to not participate in the straw poll stemmed from what he called his frustration about Felder鈥檚 influence within the Ward 7 Democrats. 

鈥淢r. Felder had a lot of people in the party doing things to support him,鈥 Grant said. 鈥淧eople should have been unbiased. There probably should鈥檝e been some outside entity conducting that whole process. A lot of other candidates didn鈥檛 feel there was fairness in the process.鈥 

For one Ward 7 resident who requested anonymity, Gray鈥檚 endorsement is subject to debate given the prominent role that his staff, particularly spokesperson Chuck Thies, have taken in the wake of the council member鈥檚 stroke nearly two years ago. 

They said that Gray鈥檚 staffers are leveraging political influence, much to the detriment of Ward 7 voters. The resident went as far as to demand that Gray make the Felder endorsement verbally and on camera.聽

鈥淭here is a difference between love,聽 respect and appreciation for Vince Gray鈥檚 years of service and the reality that he currently doesn鈥檛 personally represent the Ward 7 community,鈥 the resident told The Informer. 鈥淭he views of his non-resident staffers don鈥檛 reflect the will of the people. Other candidates like Veda Rasheed and Eboni-Rose Thompson are the true top contenders in the race and a reflection of the community鈥檚 wishes.鈥

Sam P.K. Collins has nearly 20 years of journalism experience, a significant portion of which he gained at The 老澳门开奖网 Informer. On any given day, he can be found piecing together a story, conducting...

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1 Comment

  1. Sir, Informer

    The article was interesting and balanced. Unfortunately, what was missing was that Wendell Felder was endorsed by the last two Ward 7 Council members, Vincent Gray and Yvette Alexander. It appears that the article and several other media outlets have not published her endorsement. She was a three term Ward 7 Council-member counting the special election. I sense that her endorsement continues to be omitted.

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