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On March 25, 2015 Thurgood Marshall Academy in Southeast, Washington D.C. held a candidates forum for the 13 candidates currently campaigning for the vacant Ward 8 seat held by the late, great Marion S. Barry Jr. This means a changing of the tide in a ward that has been one of the lowest income hubs in Washington.

With a large candidate pool it will be tough to decide who is right to lead Ward 8. Here lies the breakdown of candidates running to replace the late Marion Barry.

The special election to fill the Ward 8 seat will take place on April 28, 2015, which is also the date of the Ward 4 vote to fill the council seat vacated by Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Jahar Abraham

  • A cofounder of Peaceoholics.
  • “We have to have someone who will speak truth to power about racism and classism that exists,” he said. “I don’t agree with a lot of things downtown. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
  • In order to deter crime in Washington, Abraham feels we need more in-patient treatment programs.


Stewart Anderson

  • A founding director of Family and Friends of Incarcerated People.
  • Advocated for statehood, he believes it would “solve a lot of problems.”
  • “I am the only candidate that is really connected in this ward. Change can be good if it happens with us in mind.”


Marion Christopher Barry

  • Son of the late Marion Barry.
  • “I’ve created hundreds of jobs for the homeless.”
  • Suggests Ward 8 “get back to the days when police come from the community.”


Sheila Bunn

  • Served as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Vincent T. Gray.
  • Supports more affordable housing in Ward 8.
  • “I have experience in all three executive branches. I believe the police department needs to go into schools. This would help the kids see them in a non-aggressive situation,” she said.


Greta Fuller

  • Served eight years as an Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) commissioner.
  • Feels that the Metropolitan Police Department needs sensitivity training.
  • Seeks more affordable housing for the area.


Eugene Kinlow

  • Served 10 years on the University of the District of Columbia board of trustees.
  • “We need the whole room fighting for statehood.”
  • “We have not taken care of our assets,” he said. “I’m a fighter; we’ll keep Ward 8 strong.”


Laruby May

  • Currently serves as the executive director of the Vision of Victory Child Development Center;
  • Believes the police force must be held accountable and be more culturally competent.
  • Characterizes herself as an advocate for low-income seniors in Ward 8.


Anthony Muhammad

  • Currently a DC Democratic Committee’s Ward 8 Committeeman.
  • “We wanna keep it straight in Ward 8. I’m the only candidate to negotiate a community service agreement.”
  • “I’ve been in Ward 8 all my life,” he said.


Sandra Seegars

  • Served as Captain of the Mayor’s Ward 8 Community Summit.
  • Believes the District should offer programs to financially help residents.
  • “We need to mature,” she said. “We need to govern ourselves before we become a state. I get things done.”


Keita Vanterpool

  • A practicing chiropractor, she believes “Ward 8 needs to take a holistic approach.”
  • Advocates for Washington to gain statehood through budget lobby and pressing their shadow senator.
  • “Education is the key to unlock the door on life,” she said.


Leonard Watson Sr.

  • Seeks to recruit D.C. residents to improve the police force, as well as improve the training practices.
  • Feels neighborhoods east of the river have been left out. “The last should be first,” he said.
  • Believes in territorial rights regarding statehood.


Trevon White

  • Served as the Ward 8 representative to the State School Board of Education.
  • Advocates for training in Ward 8 to help get residents jobs.
  • “One of the things we need to do is be honest,” he said. “We need to empower our community, police our own community. I know what it is like to be poor.”


Natalie Williams

  • Currently represents Ward 8 residents as the Chairwoman of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8A.
  • Believes the District should address the area median income amid issues in the region.
  • “We need to make sure we hold our police department accountable,” she said.”I’ve been faithful to Ward 8.”