Kenyan McDuffie

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Kenyan R. McDuffie (born c. 1975) is an American lawyer and Democratic politician in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Council of the District of Columbia representing Ward 5 since 2012.

Early life

McDuffie grew up in Stronghold, a neighborhood in Ward 5 in Washington, D.C. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School, he sold ice cream at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. and briefly attended the University of the District of Columbia. [3] He later worked for the United States Postal Service, delivering mail in the Friendship Heights and Spring Valley neighborhoods. [3]

After four years with the Postal Service, McDuffie enrolled in the University of the District of Columbia before graduating from Howard University summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in political science and community development [4] in 2002. [5] He received a juris doctor from University of Maryland School of Law in 2006. At the University of Maryland School of Law, he served as an Associate Editor of The University of Maryland Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class, and research assistant to then-Professor Tom Perez, now former Secretary of Labor. [5]

Following his graduation, he was hired by Prince George's County, Maryland, first working as a law clerk and later as an assistant state’s attorney. McDuffie later worked for Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton in both her local constituent services office and Capitol Hill office, where he drafted legislation. In 2008, he served as a trial lawyer in the civil rights division of the Department of Justice. In 2010, McDuffie became a policy advisor to Public Safety and Justice Deputy Mayor Paul Quander, serving as a liaison to public safety agencies. [9] He has also served as president of the Stronghold Civic Association. [10]

Political career

2010 election

In February 2010, McDuffie resigned from his position in the mayor's administration [11] and declared his candidacy to represent Ward 5 on the Council of the District of Columbia. McDuffie supported expanding employment opportunities and tackling HIV. He criticized incumbent Harry Thomas Jr. for being reactive rather than proactive. During his campaign, McDuffie stressed several urgent problems in the ward, including lack of quality education, lack of effective job-training programs, lack of affordable housing, and a need for more services for senior citizens. [12] Thomas won the Democratic Party primary election [13] and went on to win the general election as well. [15]

2012 election

In January 2012, Thomas resigned from the Council and pleaded guilty to two federal crimes, theft and filing three years of false tax returns. McDuffie confirmed that he would run in a special election to fill the vacancy represent Ward 5 in the Council.

McDuffie said that programs such as affordable housing should receive additional funding before other programs such as establishing a streetcar system and expanding the Capital Bikeshare program. McDuffie supported community-oriented, responsible and sustainable development. He was in favor of the District's program providing health insurance coverage to residents, regardless of legal status in the country, who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to be able to afford private insurance. McDuffie believed the District's summer-jobs program should be changed so that only teenagers from low-income families would be eligible. He did not support requiring some charter schools in Ward 5 to have a neighborhood admissions preference to assure some seats to local residents because it would restrict the schools' flexibility.

Councilmember Tommy Wells endorsed McDuffie for his progressive agenda and emphasis on good government. The District's firefighter union, the Service Employees International Union Maryland and DC State Council, the National Nurses United union, the Local 25 Hospitality Workers' Union, the AFL-CIO, the DC Latino Caucus, and the Gertrude Stein Club also endorsed McDuffie's candidacy. [19] [20] [21] Meanwhile, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 20 endorsed Delano Hunter, and The Washington Post endorsed Tim Day. [22]

McDuffie won the special election, [23] receiving 43 percent of the votes. [21] His term ended 2014.

2014 election

McDuffie ran for re-election in the 2014 election [35] and won the primary against Kathy Henderson, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for Carver Langston; [28] and Carolyn C. Steptoe, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for Brookland. Libertarian Preston Cornish is the only candidate who opposed him in the General Election. [30] [31] He was re-elected with 83.93% of the vote.


McDuffie currently serves on the following committees: [32]

  • Committee on Judiciary (Chair)
  • Committee on Transportation and the Environment
  • Committee on Finance and Revenue

Personal life

McDuffie lives on North Capitol Street with his wife, Princess, and his daughters, Jozi and Kesi. [33]

Notoriously bad driver.

Election history

2010 Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 5, Democratic Party Primary Election

Harry Tommy Thomas Jr. (D) 62%
Delano Hunter (D) 19%
Kenyan McDuffie (D) 15%
Tracey D. Turner (D) 4%
Write-in 0%

2012 Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 5, Special Election [24]

Kenyan McDuffie (D) 43%
Delano Hunter (D) 21%
Frank Wilds (D) 14%
Tim Day (R) 6%
Ron L. Magnus (D) 4%
Shelly Gardner (D) 3%
Kathy Henderson (D) 2%
Drew E. Hubbard (D) 2%
Rae Zapata (D) 2%
Ruth E. Marshall (D) 1%
John C. Cheeks (I) 0%
Amanda Broadnax (D) 0%
Write-in 0%

2014 Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 5, Primary Election [4]

Kenyan McDuffie (D) 78.36%
Kathy Henderson (D) 14.98%
Carolyn C. Steptoe (D) 6.21%
Write-in 0.56%

2014 Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 5, General Election [35]

Kenyan McDuffie (D) 83.93%
Preston Cornish (L) 6.47%
Write-in 0.87%
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