Shadow Politics, December 10, 2017
Our guest Carol Schwartz was an elected official in Washington, D.C. spanning four decades. Though a Republican then, where the voter registration was against her 11 to 1, she ran for Mayor, coming close to defeating Marion Barry in 1994—still the closest Mayoral general election in the city’s history. (She has been a registered Independent since 2013.) Her just-published autobiography 'Quite a Life! From Defeat to Defeat…And Back' chronicles the 73-year-old’s journey from Midland, Texas, to becoming a D.C. political fixture. Let's hear her views on life in Washington, D.C. today!
Carol Schwartz’s devotion to the District of Columbia began in 1966, when she came here to teach special education. Carol was first elected to the Board of Education in 1974, where she served until 1982. Subsequently, she was elected four times (1984, 1996, 2000, 2004) to an at-large seat on the D.C. Council, leaving in 2009. Carol, a former Republican and now Independent, ran for Mayor several times (1986, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2014), twice against Marion Barry. As a Republican, she garnered as much as 42 percent of the vote in a city where Democrats have accounted for nearly 80% of the electorate.
On the Board of Education, Carol was elected Vice President a then unprecedented three times and was a champion for educational reform to increase test scores and for the creation of Banneker Academic High School. On the D.C. Council, her many accomplishments included lowering taxes, creating the Department of the Environment, and spearheading sick and safe leave for workers, making D.C. the second jurisdiction in the country to do so. Carol also strengthened D.C.’s Whistleblower Protection Law to become the toughest in the country, and was known for her strong oversight which greatly improved city services. She also unearthed and stopped numerous government “sweetheart deals,” earning her the title of “Best Friend of the D.C. Taxpayer” from Washington City Paper.
Carol has also shown her commitment to public service by contributing her time, her energy, and her voice to a wide array of community causes. Her volunteer work has included serving on the Boards of the Metropolitan Police Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs for 25 years (where she became its first woman President), the Whitman-Walker Clinic (where she was elected Vice Chair) for 17 years, the Hattie M. Strong Foundation for 20 years, and the Community Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center for three decades. In addition, she is currently on the Board of the Humane Rescue Alliance, the National Council of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Advisory Board of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
For her work on behalf of the District, Carol has received the National Capitol Area Leadership Award from the Human Rights Campaign, the Whitney M. Young Award for Community Service from the Greater Washington Urban League, the Three Decades of Leadership Award from the Washington Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, among many others, and has recently been inducted into the D.C. Hall of Fame. In early 2016, Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed her to the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability.
Born January 20, 1944, in Greenville, Mississippi, Carol spent her childhood in Midland, Texas, where she attended public schools, worked in the family store, and helped care for her brother and only sibling Johnny, an individual with intellectual disabilities, who passed away in 2004. She graduated from the University of Texas in 1965 with a degree in elementary and special education. She has three adult children, all of whom are proud graduates of the D.C. Public Schools.
On October 26, 2017, Carol released her autobiography entitled 'Quite a Life!: From Defeat to Defeat … and Back' which is available at caroldc.com, amazon.com and at these local bookstores: Politics and Prose, Busboys and Poets, Upshur Books, Capitol Hills Books, Bridge Street Books, East City Bookstore, Walls of Books, and the Howard University Barnes and Noble.
Shadow Politics is a grass roots talk show giving a voice to the voiceless. For more than 200 years the people of the Nation's Capital have ironically been excluded from the national political conversation. With no voting member of either house of Congress, Washingtonians have lacked the representation they need to be equal and to have their voices heard. Shadow Politics will provide a platform for them, as well as the millions of others nationwide who feel politically disenfranchised and disconnected, to be included in a national dialog.
We need to start a new conversation in America, one that is more inclusive and diverse and one that will lead our great nation forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century. At Shadow Politics, we hope to get this conversation started by bringing Americans together to talk about issues important to them. We look forward to having you be part of the discussion so call in and join the conversation. America is calling and we're listening… Shadow Politics is about America hearing what you have to say. It's your chance to talk to an elected official who has spent more than 30 years in Washington politics. We believe that if we start a dialog and others add their voices we will create a chorus. Even if those other politicians in Washington don't hear you — Senator Brown will. He's on a mission to listen to what America has to say and use it to start a productive dialog to make our democracy stronger and more inclusive. If we are all part of the solution we can solve any problem.