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Priorities Overview


Priorities Overview


The office of Councilmember David Grosso focuses on many different issues with one main goal always in the forefront of our minds: making D.C. a better city.  All of our efforts are based in ensuring and promoting the human rights of the people of the District. David is the chairman of the Committee on Education and sits on four other committees: Judiciary and Public SafetyHealth; Human Services; and the Committee of the Whole.

Our office emphasizes the following topics:

We encourage you to weigh in on these issues with our office as often as possible.

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Education


Education

Education


Education

Everyone has the right to education.
Article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

David's appointment as the Chairperson of the Committee on Education builds on his dedication to improving public education.  Over the his first two years in office he was completely engaged in the work of the Committee—visiting schools, attending oversight hearings and roundtables, and meeting with community groups and parents. In his first year as Chairperson, he has held 45 hearings, roundtables and town hall meetings.

  • Family and Public Engagement: Without authentic family and public engagement, our public school system will never reach its full potential.  Since being in office, David has continuously pressed D.C. Public Schools, the Public Charter School Board, the Office of the State Superintendent, and the State Board of Education to step up their efforts on planning, communication, and engagement. We have already seen positive changes from these efforts. He will continue to focus on this issue, especially regarding the District's combined lottery enrollment system, transition to the PARCC assessment program, and process of redrawing the DCPS school boundaries.
  • Smart Evaluation of Progress: Measuring student growth and annual progress is an important component of our accountability systems. David supports the use of longitudinal data to provide a more accurate picture of school and educator effectiveness. As the D.C. continues to implement the PARCC assessment under the common core standards, David will keep pushing our leaders to take advantage of technological advancements that can provide educators, administrators, and families a more accurate evaluation of student growth and progress.
  • Addressing Adversity and Trauma Inside and Outside the Classroom: At the core of David's work on education is a vision of every student being in the best position to succeed. To accomplish that, we must tackle challenges that affect students, and their families, that are not traditionally in the scope of the educational sector. From trauma-informed approaches and school-based mental health services to encouraging family-friendly policies and interrupting violence, the Councilmember is looking at all the options for improving outcomes for our children.
  • School Discipline: David believes it’s time for our public schools to rethink their responses to minor discipline offenses by students. Concerned with reports of high numbers of suspensions and expulsions in D.C. public schools, David successfully passed a legislative mandate that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education publish a comprehensive report on suspensions and expulsions, as well as recommendations to help our public schools eliminate the practice. The troubling findings of that report prompted David to take action to ban suspensions and expulsions for pre-kindergarten students in public D.C. schools. As part of a broader push to reform school discipline, he is involved in the interagency Truancy Task Force and has proposed additional legislation to transform our approach to attendance and absenteeism.
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Ethics & Elections


Ethics & Elections

Ethics & Elections


Ethics & Elections

Everyone has the right to take part in his or her government, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
Article 21, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

David is committed to advancing ethics and elections reform while on the D.C. Council. He believes that if implemented properly these ideas will make the Council a more effective and accountable legislative body. Grosso has introduced and supported legislation to push this issue forward during his time on the Council.

 

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Access to Healthcare


Access to Healthcare

Access to Healthcare


Access to Healthcare

Everyone has the right to the health and well-being of the self and family.
Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Having a strong, robust health care system is critical to ensuring the basic human rights of D.C. residents. David brings a wealth of knowledge based on his past experiences in the health care field to his work on the Committee on Health and Human Services.

  • Efficient and Effective Delivery of Care: David is working with the Committee to explore ways to improve delivery of care through our Medicaid and Alliance providers. The residents served through these programs are those who have the most need for government support and we must ensure that the District is continuously looking to strengthen our Medicaid program in the areas of technology, access, fraud prevention, and quality.
  • Access to Quality Care: With the help of the Affordable Care Act, more District residents will be covered by health insurance than ever before. While that is great, it means nothing if our residents do not have access to quality health clinics in their neighborhoods that can meet their health needs in a timely fashion. At the same time, David is working to ensure that D.C. communities facing health disparities can access appropriate and high quality health care services.
  • Medical Marijuana: David has been a strong supporter of the District’s medical marijuana program since residents voted in favor of it in 1998. The first dispensary finally opened in July 2013. While the low participation rates can partly be attributed to the lengthy application and reluctance of some physicians to prescribe medical marijuana, David strongly believes that the list of qualifying medical conditions is far too narrow for the program to be successful. After asking the Department of Health to expand the list, he successfully passed legislation to remove the list of conditions altogether, as well as increase dispensaries' ability to produce edibles.
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Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice

All are equal before the law & are entitled without discrimination to equal protection of the law.
Article 7, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Our criminal justice system has too often focused on vengeance and punishment, rather than on crime prevention, restitution for victims and the social and economic reintegration of released prisoners into our communities so that they do not turn to crime again. David is committed to the effort to reform the criminal justice system in D.C., respecting the human rights of all residents.

  • Ending the Drug War: In 2013, D.C. had a higher per capita arrest rate and spends more money on marijuana enforcement than almost any other state or county in the country. As the number of marijuana arrests has increased, so have the racial disparities. David supported efforts to decriminalize and legalize marijuana in the District, including his introduction of the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act which has been blocked by Congress through a rider attached to the District's FY2015 budget. As a companion to that bill, he also introduced the Record Sealing for Non-Violent Marijuana Possession Act of 2013 to seal the records of all persons for who non-violent marijuana related arrests or charges is their only criminal history. The Council passed this bill in October 2014.
  • Recommit to Community Policing: How law enforcement interacts with the public on a daily basis plays an enormous role on how the government as a whole is perceived by the public. Everyday communications and interactions impact the lives of all of our residents.  David believes that we must recommit to a more peaceful and positive engagement strategy between law enforcement and the public. Ultimately, it’s all connected. Through a new “alternatives to violence” approach to policing our entire city will see more productive relationship between the public and the government. 
  • Human Rights of Incarcerated Residents: David consistently speaks out for the human rights of all D.C. residents, including those behind bars. In 2014, the Council passed his bill to prohibit the shackling of pregnant women and girls in D.C. custody. Following that victory, David's intention to introduce legislation to end the routine shackling of minors in our juvenile courts led to a change in court policy. David also led the charge to prevent a for-profit company with a scandal-plagued track record from taking over healthcare services at the D.C. jail.

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Workforce Development


Workforce Development

Workforce Development


Workforce Development

Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work.
Article 23, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

David strongly believes that having opportunities for work in a position of interest that leads to long-term, gratifying employment is an issue of human rights.  The jobs process should not be about handing out jobs, but instead assessing an individual’s interests and skill sets so our residents can be placed in positions where they are able to find meaningful work. He sees these goals as part of a comprehensive approach to education in the city.

  • Workforce Development: Our office is conducting a comprehensive review of the District-wide approach to workforce education and training--to that end David successfully pushed for funding in the FY2015 budget to support a FTE position at the Workforce Investment Council (WIC) to study current funding and programs and recommend changes. David is a member of the WIC, which is working on the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of an integrated and effective workforce investment system. His work there informs our office’s oversight and reform efforts for the Department of Employment Services. He is also strongly committed to working with the University of the District of Columbia and the Community College to help them succeed in the re-accreditation process.
  • Small and Local Business Opportunities: David has been vocal about his desire to revamp the District’s Certified Business Enterprise program. He is supportive of efforts to bring more transparency and sense of ease for businesses that are looking to do work with the District of Columbia. David will also push for the creation and adoption of a “commercial land trust” to help homegrown small businesses purchase property in the District. David is committed to supporting small businesses succeed in an often difficult regulatory environment. 

 

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Arts & Humanities


Arts & Humanities

Arts & Humanities


Arts & Humanities

Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
Article 27, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A key component of our city’s economy and its vibrancy, the arts and humanities help to make D.C. a world class city. David fully supports the District’s historic commitment to the arts and humanities, not just financially but with engagement and support.

  • Financial Support for the Arts: As a member of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, David will spend time working to ensure that the grant process at the Commission on Arts and Humanities is professionalized. Financial support should be made available to all sizes of arts entities across the city. He will be closely monitoring how well the Commission distributes the money allocated to it in the budget process. David helped found ArtsAction D.C. to foster a more comprehensive dialogue between the city's creative communities and the government.
  • Public Engagement and Support: David and his wife Serra are passionate supporters of the arts in the District. In addition, to attending performances and gallery events, David worked to bring the arts to the Wilson Building. In 2013, the office hosted an Arts Open House celebrating the work of artists whose paintings and photographs are featured in our office. In February 2014, David hosted a Poetry Slam featuring the D.C. Poet Laureate and youth poets from around the city, and in November 2014 David joined ArtsAction D.C. and Washington Performing Arts to host a "jam session" of musicians at the Wilson Building.