Elissa Silverman is an American politician who's an independent at-large member of the Council of the District of Columbia .

Early life and professional career

Elissa Silverman was born to parents Jack and Ruth Silverman in Baltimore, Maryland , where she attended the public schools. [2] [3] She majored in economics and history at Brown University . [4] She has worked as a reporter for The Washington Post and, earlier, the Washington City Paper where she wrote the Loose Lips column . [5] [6] She additionally helped the D.C. Public Trust in its attempt to prohibit direct corporate contributions in local politics. [5] In April 2009, she was hired as a policy analyst and communications director at the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, [5] a position she held until resigning to run for public office in April 2014. [7] She has attended University of Maryland , pursuing a master's degree in urban studies and planning . [8]

Political career

2013 election

When At-large Council Member Phil Mendelson was elected council chairman in 2012, his former seat on the Council was declared vacant. [5] Silverman filed to run as a Democratic candidate for the at-large seat. [5] Silverman ran against incumbent Anita Bonds , [9] and Board of Education member Patrick Mara . [10] Silverman said she wouldn't accept campaign contributions from corporations. [2]

Silverman supported increasing funding to government programmes that subsidise affordable housing, [12] [13] and expanding the minimum wage law to cover restaurant workers. [2] Silverman said it is a problem that a quarter of District students attend their zoned neighbourhood schools, saying more governmental resources should improve schools. [2]

Following a $440 million budget surplus in 2012, Bonds and Mara supported tax cuts, while Silverman said she would prioritise helping people in additional ways before cutting taxes. [12] A political action committee criticised Silverman when she said she didn't think residents minded paying taxes and minded poor city services more. [2]

Silverman and her campaign tried to negotiate a deal with rival candidate Matthew Frumin, asking him to drop out of the election in exchange for her supporting him in a future election. [17] [2] Frumin declined the offer, saying he felt he still had a chance to win. [17] Frumin said Silverman's offer might contradict her case for being a reformer. [17]

"It was explicit that she would support me in a Ward 3 race, including against Mary Cheh," said Frumin, who has consistently said he has no interest in running against Cheh next year. "The idea of an attempted deal, maybe that's what happens in politics, but when you're claiming a whole new politics, that's something of an issue."

Silverman's candidacy was endorsed by Council Member David Grosso [2] former Council Member Sharon Ambrose , [2] and former Council Member Kathy Patterson . [13] She was additionally endorsed by the editorial board of the Washington City Paper , [21] Democracy for America , and the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 2. [13]

Silverman finished second to Anita Bonds , [22] by a margin of thirty-one percent to 28%. [21]

2014 election

When independent Council Member David Catania decided to run for mayor rather than reelection in 2014, Silverman decided to change her official political status to independent and leave her position at the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute to consider another candidacy. [24] Silverman publicly declared her candidacy for Council the next month. [25]

Silverman emphasised accountability of elected officials, accountability of public schools, quality education, affordable housing, and good public transportation. [25] Silverman said she wouldn't accept campaign contributions from corporations. [25] She was proud of helping increase the District's minimum wage to $11.50 per hour and expand the mandatory paid sick leave law to restaurant employees. [26]

Silverman's candidacy was endorsed by Ward 8 Council Member Marion Barry , [27] Ward 6 Council candidate Charles Allen , the D.C. Chapter of the National Organization for Women , D.C. Working Families, Jews United for Justice, [28] and the D.C. Muslim Caucus, [29] Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO , Service Employees International Union 32BJ and 1199, DC for Democracy, the Sierra Club , the DC Police Union, [30] the United Food and Commercial Workers local, [4] and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 36. [4] She was additionally endorsed by the editorial board of the Washington City Paper . [4]

Silverman was elected to the at-large seat in the 2014 general election [4] with twelve percent of the total votes. [3] [21]


In 2016, Silverman introduced legislation to limit public spending on a proposed practise facility for the Washington Wizards . The law would cap public expenditures at $50 million and hold Ted Leonsis' company, which owns the team, responsible for any cost overruns. [36]


Silverman was appointed to the following committees for Council Period 21 (January 2015 to December 2016). [4]

  • Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
  • Committee on Housing and Community Development
  • Committee on Finance and Revenue

Personal life

Silverman lives in Capitol Hill . [5] She is Jewish. [4]

Electoral Results

2013 Special Election, Council of the District of Columbia , At-Large Seat [21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Anita Bonds 18,027 31
Democratic Elissa Silverman 15,228 27
Republican Patrick Mara 13,698 24
Democratic Matthew Frumin 6,307 11
Democratic Paul Zuckerberg 1,195 2
Democratic Michael A. Brown 1,100 2
D.C. Statehood Green Perry Redd 1,090 2
write-in 187 0
2014 General Election, Council of the District of Columbia , At-Large Seats [21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Anita Bonds 85,575 24
Independent Elissa Silverman 41,300 12
Independent Michael D. Brown 28,614 8
Independent Robert White 22,198 6
Independent Courtney R. Snowden 19,551 5
D.C. Statehood Green Eugene Puryear 12,525 4
Independent Graylan Scott Hagler 10,539 3
Independent Khalid Pitts 10,392 3
Republican Marc Morgan 9,947 3
Independent Brian Hart 8,933 3
Independent Kishan Putta 6,135 2
Independent Calvin Gurley 4,553 1
Independent Eric J. Jones 4,405 1
Libertarian Frederick Steiner 3,766 1
Independent Wendell Felder 2,964 1
write-in 1,472 0