Housing Complex

Can a Smart Growth Candidate-Turned-Ethics Candidate Become Mayor?

Tommy Wells wasn't planning this mayoral campaign. He thought he'd run four years from now on a platform of creating a more livable, walkable city. Instead, he says, he found himself in the 2014 campaign fray as the ethics candidate. Or at least that's how he'd like to be seen.

The question is how voters will see him. Will they cast their votes for the man who's lost power and popularity on the D.C. Council because he stood up for what he believes to be right, who stands apart from the moneyed interests and backroom deals that define the Council? Or will they dismiss the genial Alabaman whose focus on bikes, buses, and streetcars can seem out of touch with the concerns of some of the city's poorer residents?

My cover profile of Wells in this week's paper addresses this question. It also tells the story of how Anita Bonds bailed Wells out in Arkansas 30 years ago; how Marion Barry helped launch his political career; why he's so obsessed with trees; what his colleagues really think of him; and his connection with a Grateful Dead cover band called New Potato Caboose. Give it a read here.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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