County Mayor Muriel Bowser distanced himself from the far left wing of the Democratic Party in a debate Wednesday night, considering himself the most realistic choice for the results.
Ms. Bowser, 46, competed with council members Threon White and Robert White on crime, school security and education at a forum at Georgetown University hosted by WTTG, Fox’s Washington branch.
The mayor has particularly focused on his efforts to expand the city’s police force, attacking the “Save the Police” movement as a contribution to the 17% increase in violent crime in the area since last year.
“I will be the only one who is ready to tell you that I will make tough appeals when it comes to violent crimes, including making sure we have the police we need. We have faced two years of police deprivation, ”Ms. Bowser said.
Trayon White and Robert White criticized Ms. Bowser’s public safety plan, arguing that police are not the ultimate solution to the rise in crime in the city.
Robert White, who is currently a board member, has offered to fund crime prevention programs and hire more health professionals who can intervene in cases often handled by police.
Trayon White, who represents House 8 in the southeast of the city, said hiring more police is a simple decision that does not solve what is causing the rise in crime.
“My plan is not to increase the police, but to create comprehensive services by improving housing, mental health services, drug addiction [services]”- said Mr. White. “We need the police, but the police are not the final decision.”
Ms. Bowser has long advertised her plan to hire more than 300 officers across the county as well as diversify forces.
The mayor wants female officers to make up 30% of the military by 2030, which would be 7 points more than the current level.
Ms. Bowser also rejected the need to expand government to create a healthier system for students and address youth issues at risk, saying they should invest in resources that can help people and help families shape children in successful ways.
“If someone promises you that the government can do anything, they are very wrong,” said Ms. Bowser.
Candidates also discussed their plans to expand mental health services, improve affordable housing and improve education.
One of the topics that the moderators focused on was school safety and the council’s decision to get rid of school staff. The decision was made with the support of both Trayon White and Robert White, as well as because of Ms. Bowser’s opposition.
The question came amid renewed debate over how to ensure the safety of schools following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uwald, Texas, last week.
The decision to get rid of police in schools Robert White put on students who came to the council with complaints about them.
“We in the council voted to remove school staff from schools at the request of students who came. [and said] their schools felt like prisons, ”he said.
Troy White reiterated his position that he does not believe that the police are the solution to all public safety issues, including those faced by students.
Ms. Bowser advocated for the resumption of funding for school resources.
Three candidates will run in the June 21 election from the Democratic Party.
James Butler, a local prosecutor who is also involved in the race, will also take part in the vote, although he has not been eligible for debate.