Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

Four D.C. Council candidates get 'A's on 2012 questionnaire

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flickr photo courtesy of Leap Kye

Four candidates for D.C. Council have received “A” grades after filling out a questionnaire that asked about everything from their willingness to support smokefree parks to how they would handle a query from a constituent grappling with secondhand smoke intrusion in their home. Other candidates received grades ranging from “B” to “F.”

Fifteen Council candidates completed the seven-item questionnaire. D.C.’s primary will be held on April 3.

The seven questions were designed to test candidates’ knowledge of tobacco issues as well as their commitment to the rights of nonsmokers to breathe clean air. The full report card is here.

We greatly appreciate the time that candidates spent to answer these questions. Our goal in releasing this report card is to let voters know where the candidates stand on a key health issue. Secondhand smoke is a known health hazard. Although we have a strong smokefree workplace law here in the District, nonsmokers are still exposed to secondhand smoke every day.

Candidates were graded on an “A” to “F” scale, with “A” being the highest grade and “F” being the lowest.  Candidates who did not return a questionnaire were given a “zero” grade. In addition to assessing the answers to the questions, Smokefree DC took into account a candidate’s record if they have been on the D.C. Council previously – in particular a measure passed in September that weakened the law by permitting cigar smoking at certain events in hotels.

The candidates who received “As” were Sekou Biddle (At-Large), Peter Shapiro (At-Large), David Grosso (At-Large) and Max Skolnik (Ward 4). Receiving a “B” was Barut Jahi (Ward 4).

Candidates who received “Ds” were Kevin B. Chavous (Ward 7) and S.S. Sandra Seegars (Ward 8). Receiving “Fs” were E. Gail Anderson Holness  (At-Large), G. Lee Aikin (At-Large), Jack Evans (Ward 2), Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), Calvin Gurley (Ward 4), Judi Jones (Ward 4) and William “Rev. Bill” Bennett II. Monica Johnson (Ward 7) filled out a questionnaire but has since dropped out of the race.

All other candidates who are running in the primary received zeros because they did not return their questionnaires.  Michael Brown (At-Large) was not yet scored; he is running only in the general election.

Smokefree DC will be sending the same questionnaire to candidates for the Ward 5 special election.

Smokefree DC also heartily endorses the proposed ballot initiative to get corporate money out of politics.

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