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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s prepared remarks for citywide address

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

Here is D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s State of the District address as it was prepared for delivery.

BOWSER: Good evening, fellow Washingtonians. I’m here tonight, humble and proud to be your Mayor.

It is an honor to have the opportunity to deliver the 2015 State of the District Address.

Today, I am pleased to report, that the District is strong… and growing stronger.

We are one of the strongest economies in the country. We are the economic engine of the region accounting for one quarter of the job market, and in the last year, over two-thirds of its private sector job growth;

We are the number one tech hot spot and among the top ten cities for venture capital investment. Forbes Magazine even says we’re the coolest;

Wall Street knows our city finances are strong, and this year, increased our bond rating;

We are a Top 5 U.S. Cities for New Construction; Top 10 Most Walkable City in the U.S.; #2 Fittest City (we’ll catch you, Minneapolis/St-Paul!); #1 in U.S. for attracting entrepreneurial founders of companies; and the #2 Best paying U.S. City for Women;

We are home to the best new restaurant in America, and we are a Top 5 Best U.S. City for a Vacation;

No wonder we’re also one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

Big cities – like the District of Columbia – have world-class schools, parks, and libraries. They are home to vibrant cultural institutions that highlight the arts and entertainment. We are making strides in these areas too.

But we all know that there is room to improve.

We face historic economic inequality with tragic rates of homelessness;

Too many of our residents can’t afford to continue to live in their own neighborhoods;

Our schools are not yet good enough and our transit system isn’t reliable and safe enough;

And as good as our finances are, heading into the next fiscal year, we face a $200 million budget gap.

We know that it’s tougher and tougher for many people to start down and stay on the pathway to the middle class.

When my parents bought a simple 3-bedroom home in 1960 in North Michigan Park, they could afford to do so on two modest government salaries.

Growing up in that middle class household meant that we had food in the fridge, new clothes to start the school year, and a bit of pocket money to go to the movies.

Growing up middle class meant that my siblings and I didn’t always get everything we wanted but we had everything we needed.

Back in 1960, when Joan and Joe bought their home, the average home in D.C. cost about $15,000. That was only three times the average family income.

Today, the median home value tops half a million dollars. That’s six times the average family income.

If we are going to remain a city that keeps and welcomes families, we must do more to create opportunity for them.

Creating opportunity means taking steps every day to improve the quality of life for the residents of the District of Columbia.

Creating opportunity means economic development that makes life easier, and more convenient while preserving the rich heritage that makes D.C. so unique.

And it means promoting the arts and those cultural institutions that will continue to make it so.

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