With Wells, his former boss, running for D.C. mayor, Allen, above, hopes to make Ward 6 more family-friendly and senior-friendly.
“I spent a long amount of time working to make sure that the right person gets elected, and I feel that it’s now time for me to step forward because I believe I’m the right person to get elected,” he said in a recent interview with CQ Roll Call.
Reflecting on major initiatives he’s helped fight for, including gay marriage, new business on H Street and the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009 that implemented a 5-cent fee on disposable plastic bags, Allen said, “I’ve been part of our successes and I know how to face our challenges.”
One of his primary concerns is making Ward 6 more family-friendly.
Allen and his wife, Jordi Hutchinson, will one day send their toddler, Cora Neal, to school near their 15th and D streets Northeast home. He has pushed to expand early education programs and supported the plan for a $98 million renovation of Eastern High School.
However, he said, “it doesn’t matter to some extent what we do on the high school level if we don’t give parents a pathway, so middle school reform is a major priority of mine.”
For older Ward 6 residents, Allen wants to repair the sidewalks they must traverse in walkers and wheelchairs and push for more neighborhood-based health care providers. The long-awaited H Street streetcar is another priority. He dreams a second Capitol Hill streetcar line could connect Union Station to the Capitol Visitor Center and stretch into the city’s Southwest quadrant.
Allen supported a failed 2012 ballot initiative that would have banned corporate contributions to local campaigns and claims to be the only candidate in the mayoral race rejecting corporate money.
His primary opponent, Darrel Thompson, a former deputy to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the fact that Allen is accepting money from the District’s small businesses is “hypocritical” and could be interpreted as “pay-to-play.”
Thompson chooses to balance his political campaign while holding onto his job as a principal with the Collins | Johnson Group, a local lobbying firm.
Allen boasts that he is the only candidate who has made campaigning his “full-time job.” Under the terms of the Hatch Act, he had leave Wells’ office when he launched his campaign.
Like his former boss, he’s made ethics reform a prime component of his campaign, saying, “This is the tough medicine that we need and I’m willing to live by it, and that’s important.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Allen's wife. Her name is Jordi Hutchinson.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.