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Good evening.

Its great to see so many close friends and colleagues here tonight at my alma mater - the great
Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School. Thank you for joining us.
Please know it has been the greatest honor of my life to serve for the last four years as your
Mayor. We have come so far as a city during that time, made so much progress in so many
areas, that its hard to say goodbye to what I think is without a doubt the best job in the world.
We live in an exceptional city. But you are what makes it like no other the residents who
breathe vitality into every corner of the District. It is the people of the District of Columbia the
people I had a chance to meet and talk to every day who make this tough job worthwhile. And
it is on your behalf that I have given my all every single day of the past four years. I leave
proudly, knowing that I left it all out on the field and forever grateful to you for giving me the
But tonight is about more than just giving me a chance to say thank you. It is a moment to
celebrate real and measurable progress my administration has made for the city we all love. We
are One City, Stronger Together.
When I was inaugurated four years ago next month, before the great Chuck Brown and his band
took the stage, I laid out my ambitions for my term in office. I promised we would restore fiscal
discipline and put the Districts fiscal house in order. I promised we would create jobs and put
people back to work. I promised we would expand economic development beyond the
downtown core into our neighborhoods. I promised we would continue to strengthen our
education system to ensure our children get the world-class education they deserve. And I
promised we would make our communities safer.
But before we could start work on this ambitious agenda, we had to address a frustration that
permeated the city. Over the prior four years, residents had been given a false choice, told they
had to choose between progress and inclusion, between rapid forward movement and stopping
to listen to our residents. I rejected that false choice.
Every experience I ever had in my career told me that that approach was wrong and ultimately
counterproductive. Results are incredibly important but the way we govern is also
important. Talking and listening to people, offering respect, building as much consensus as
much possible, and then powerfully moving forward together is the way I have always operated
and its the right way to govern the District of Columbia.
Now people may not know that I never got into politics to be Mayor. I got into this to try and lift
people up, with my personal philosophy of One City underlying every decision. One City
meaning a city where your neighborhood or your background doesnt define your future. It
means One City where we work together to make the District a place where all can achieve their
And, governing that way, we have made the District stronger together.
Let me take you back to January of 2011, when I took office. Given where we are today, its
easy to forget the magnitude of the challenges we faced then. Unemployment was sky-high and

rising. The citys rainy-day fund was rapidly being depleted. Multiple economic-development
projects were stalled due to a lack of financing or bureaucratic challenges. The city was expected
to face a major budget deficit in the next fiscal year. And a number of longstanding problems
were draining the Districts monetary and human resources.
And so we quickly got to work. Four years later, Im proud to say that the District is stronger
today than at any moment in our history.
Now, fiscal responsibility may not sound glamorous but it is the foundation for everything a
government does. Even the most well-intentioned plans fail if you cant pay for them. When I
took office, I inherited a city whose finances were in significant decline. The Districts savings
account had been spent down from a peak of $1.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2007 to under $1 billion
and it was projected to fall to $705 million!
My first priority was to restore stability and discipline to the Districts budget and
finances. When I proposed my first budget, the District faced a $322 million gap between what
we were projected to spend and the revenue we were expected to bring in. About one-third of
this decline was due to the recession, but the rest was caused by failure to control spending,
resulting in excess spending of more than $200 million. Wall Street placed the Districts bond
ratings on negative outlook, and we were on the brink of a downgrade which would ultimately
cost the District millions of dollars more per year in higher interest payments.
In Fiscal Year 2012, the first budget we prepared on my watch, I proposed the Districts first
structurally balanced budget in three years meaning that we would spend only what we took
in. And I went on to complete three more back-to-back-to-back balanced budgets. I created a
spending-pressure task force whose mission was to mitigate overspending and improve
efficiency. This, coupled with our tremendously successful economic-development strategies,
resulted in significant annual budget surpluses every year and a restoration of the Districts
crucial Fund Balance from a projected low of $705 million at the end of Fiscal Year 2011 to
more than $1.75 billion at the end of Fiscal Year 2013 the highest level in District history.
Today, after several upgrades, Wall Street now ranks the Districts General Obligation bonds at
AA the highest in our history. This means that the District gets better interest rates and saves
millions of dollars in interest payments dollars that we have been able to invest in education,
affordable housing, and public safety.
But what good is having a decent savings account if your people dont have jobs? When I took
office, the District was still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession, which hit many of
our most disadvantaged communities particularly hard. Today, in no small measure due to the
employment and economic development strategies put in place by my administration, the
Districts unemployment rate has fallen dramatically and our economy is booming.
Weve created 44,000 private-sector jobs and the unemployment rate has steadily fallen by
three full percentage points from 10.4 percent in mid-2011 to 7.4 percent today. Thats the
lowest unemployment rate weve seen in more than six years. Most encouragingly, weve seen
the biggest drops in Wards 5, 7, and 8 the wards hardest hit by the recession where
unemployment fell by 27 percent, 24 percent, and 25 percent respectively.

How did all this happen? Part of the answer can be traced back to the day in September 2011
with the Districts unemployment rate at a 30-year high when I stood with the Department of
Employment Services to launch the One City One Hire program. Just three years later, this
innovative, award-winning program reached its ambitious goal of helping match more than
10,000 previously unemployed District residents with jobs by connecting them with nearly 1,200
participating employers. Think about that thats 10,000 District residents who got back to work
because the government and the private sector partnered to help raise them up.
And we improved the Districts Summer Youth Employment Program a legacy of the late, great
Marion Barry providing approximately 15,000 District youth per year with relevant and
invaluable work experience. During the last four years, extensive fiscal and operational controls
have been put into place to ensure that every dollar spent on SYEP goes to support the
vocational growth of District youth.
Our people also got back to work, in part, because of the economic development strategies that
we pursued. Over the last four years, the District has seen dramatic economic growth and
neighborhood development bringing jobs and retail and other amenities to every part of the
Some of the largest projects like CityMarket at O Street, CityCenter, Skyland Town Center, The
Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront, the former McMillan Sand Filtration site, and the Shops at
Dakota Crossing and our first Costco had been stalled for years before I took office. They had
been stuck in red tape or legal entanglements, or they lacked sufficient city support and
attention. Our team went to work, and four years later 96 major projects have been completed
or are under construction, representing an investment in the District of nearly $8
billion. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is creating jobs, building housing, and generating tax
revenue that we are reinvesting into things like education and affordable housing.
Were also looking to the future, moving forward on several critical development projects for
which groundwork must be laid now to come to fruition years down the road. One of those is a
monumental deal that my administration worked hard to bring to fruition ensuring that the
District will continue to be home to our successful D.C. United soccer team. And I want to thank
the Council, who earlier today cast the final votes to approve this project. A world-class soccer
stadium will now rise on currently underused industrial land at Buzzard Point. This will be
catalytic development that will connect the Southwest Waterfront with the rapidly developing
area around Nationals Park, creating not only jobs and revenues from the facility itself, but also
secondary housing and retail development in the area around it.
Likewise, weve worked closely with the federal government to advance the redevelopment of
the Walter Reed site in Ward 4 and have selected a great development team. If everything goes
according to plan, next year the Army will transfer the property to the District and, at long last,
construction will begin to transform the historic former military hospital site into a thriving
community mixing old and new buildings. In fact, the first parcel was transferred two weeks ago
so that the city can begin construction of a new fire station to replace one that was built in
Weve done very similar catalytic work at St. Elizabeths in Ward 8. Weve made major progress
in creating a long-awaited anchor for new jobs and new amenities on the District-controlled

portion of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital. Were investing more than $50 million to
rehabilitate the historic buildings and build a major technology center. Last year, we opened the
gorgeous new Gateway Pavilion to begin opening up the campus to the community. And we
now have letters of intent from Microsoft, VMTrek and Citelum to open offices at the new
technology hub that were building there. Finally, the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center opened in
the former St. Es Chapel this year, and they have established programming partnerships with
Microsoft and the University of the District of Columbia Community College to catalyze
economic growth in Ward 8.
Let me take a moment to say something about my commitment to what some call East of the
River, but I prefer to call the East End of the city. We have focused unprecedented time,
energy, and resources on the economic development needs of communities in Wards 7 and 8,
where jobs and amenities are sorely needed. Not only is it the right thing to do to focus on
communities that had long been neglected by government and business but it is critical to the
general well-being of the overall city. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., the District of
Columbia can never be what it ought to be until we help the East End of the city be what it
ought to be.
Ive also talked directly to East End residents and other stakeholders by convening Community
and Economic Development Summits in Wards 7 and 8 to identify pressing needs and spur
District agencies to develop innovative programs to promote and enhance retail,
entrepreneurship and job creation. We are making steady and important progress that, in the
years to come, will yield extraordinary results.
Now, I cant move on from the subject of economic development without touching on a project
especially near to my heart. It is also near to where I live in Ward 7 that, of course, is Skyland
Town Center. After more than three decades of legal challenges and other barriers, work has
finally begun to transform the shopping center into a destination retail town center that will also
include both market-rate and affordable housing. Demolition is more than 90 percent
complete, and look for an exciting announcement about a major retail anchor coming very soon.
But we have not been content to focus on moving forward on all this important economic
development in the present. As the federal government enters a new period of fiscal austerity
and downsizing, we must acknowledge the District is undergoing enormous economic
change. Therefore, we have redoubled our efforts to diversify the economy and develop and
grow the Districts private sector and the jobs it offers.
That is why my administration developed a Five-Year Economic Development Strategy which
serves as a roadmap for growing and diversifying the Districts economy. The strategy identifies
six bold visions that is moving the city towards creating 100,000 new jobs and generating $1
billion in new tax revenue. And were making great progress implementing the plan only two
years into implementation, were nearly halfway to our goals on both metrics.
For example, one exciting area with strong potential for economic growth in the District is
technology. And weve dedicated a lot of time to growing the Districts tech sector. We have
invested significantly in several tech incubators and initiatives like the creation of 1776, a global
hub for startups tackling major cross-sector challenges. And we launched Digital DC, a
marketing, branding and economic development initiative that aims to promote the District as

the leading community for the innovation and high-tech economy. This includes the
establishment of a Tech Corridor along Georgia Avenue from Shaw to Petworth as well as grants
to local companies through a D.C. Tech Fund.
We also recognized that burdensome bureaucratic requirements can interfere with the ability of
tech companies and other small businesses to open, thrive, and remain in the District and so,
in 2013 I appointed a Business Regulatory Reform Task Force to make recommendations to
address these challenges. Their recommendations led to the creation of the One City Business
Portal that will come online next year. When it does, for the first time in District history
business will be able to go to a consolidated website to access the permitting, licensing, and
other registration functions of several District agencies.
But as we focus on ensuring that the District economy will continue to create enough good jobs
for current and future residents, my administration has not forgotten about the long-time
District residents who find it increasingly difficult to continue living here as the District becomes
more expensive. The District is growing rapidly adding more than 1,100 people a month and
is now bigger than both Vermont and Wyoming. We havent been this populous since the 1970s.
But it does us no good to embrace a growing and prosperous future if we neglect those who
have made the District their home for their entire lives. And that is why I have focused so much
on affordable housing.
In the early months of my term, it became clear that housing affordability was an issue of
concern to a wide swath of the Districts residents and leaders an idea confirmed by the
feedback I got when I convened my 2012 One City Summit.
In response, I moved aggressively to bolster the Districts supply of affordable housing. We
made unprecedented investments in expanding the Districts supply of housing affordable for
lower- and middle-income residents and worked hard to ensure longtime residents are not
pushed out of their homes.
In early 2012, I created a Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force to advise me on the right
strategies and the right amount of affordable housing we needed to build. When I received its
report I wholeheartedly embraced its recommendations, committing to building or preserving
10,000 units of affordable housing by 2020 what we call the 10 x 20 Goal.
I am proud to say that we are now projected to exceed that goal by more than 20 percent!
Already, more than 6,500 units have been completed or are currently under construction, and
another 6,000 are in the pipeline and will be completed by 2020.
To realize this commitment, during my time in office I have invested more than half a billion
dollars in creating and preserving affordable housing. This includes $317 million banked in our
Housing Production Trust Fund, more than under any other Mayors four-year term.
Beyond housing, the issue critical to the Districts future is the continued reform of our
education system. When I took office, I ensured stability by naming Kaya Henderson as
chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools, and I ensured more equity in public resources and stronger
coordination between DCPS and the Districts robust system of public charter schools. I then
worked with my education team to double down on the most successful elements of education
reform like longer school days and early-childhood education. And it has paid off.

District students have made significant gains in scores on the DC-CAS test over the past several
years. Overall, since 2007, District students have achieved 23-percentage-point growth in math
scores, 14-percentage-point growth in reading, and 16-percentage-point growth in science. The
gains in DC-CAS scores track gains District students made on the National Assessment of
Educational Progress or NAEP. In fact, in 2013, the District led the nation in growth on NAEP
scores. We are not yet where we need to be, but we are on the right track.
And each year, more and more families are choosing the Districts public schools. Public-school
enrollment has grown steadily in both sectors and is now at nearly 86,000 students the highest
enrollment in 27 years. We continue to see growth at the pre-K3 level while pre-K4 enrollment
is leveling off, an indication that we have achieved near universal access for four-yearolds. Having witnessed 100 percent growth in pre-K enrollment from when I lead the passage of
2008 Pre-K Expansion Act, we are unquestionably the nations leader in early-childhood
And while other cities and states are still focused on pre-K quantity, we have shifted our focus to
increasing quality. To ensure that our youngest children benefit from quality child care, the
District is in the process of establishing an innovative community-based Quality Improvement
Network that will allow children and families to benefit from comprehensive child-development
and family-support-engagement services. And just last week, President Obama awarded the
District $900,000 to support this next generation work.
School buildings reflect a communitys investment in its childrens education, and better
buildings create better learning environments. On my watch, the Districts ongoing schoolmodernization efforts were accelerated, with and nearly 30 schools modernized. They include
Cardozo High School, H.D. Woodson High School, Anacostia High School, Ballou High School
which I had the honor to cut the ribbon on just this morning and Dunbar High School. Isnt this
a beautiful school, ladies and gentlemen? And there are more schools to come. Additional
modernization projects are underway at Roosevelt High School, Duke Ellington School for the
Performing Arts, Lafayette Elementary School, Van Ness Elementary School, Garrison
Elementary School, Murch Elementary School, River Terrace Education Campus, Orr Elementary
School, and Marie Reed Elementary School.
And our charter schools need good homes too. On my watch, weve awarded 16 surplus DCPS
school buildings to be repurposed as public charter schools. This is more than twice as many as
in the four years prior to our administration.
New schools speak strongly to the value we place on public education, but alone they wont get
the job done. Investments must go on to support the work underway inside of schools. In the
last four years, public education funding grew in each of the my budgets, culminating in a
historic $112 million additional investment for DCPS and public charters in this years budget.
This included a $60 million investment in a new at-risk weight targeted towards students who
are at the greatest risk for academic failure.
My administration has made addressing the needs of the Districts special-education students in
public schools a huge priority and weve seen a 56 percent reduction in private-school
placements for students with disabilities. This is because weve plowed budget savings from this
reduction as well as increases in local special education funding back into building the capacity

of the Districts public-education system to serve children with disabilities closer to home, as the
law requires. As a result of this commitment, the District has been able to exit three consent
decrees that resulted from decades-old litigation on special education with a federal judge
finally ending the third and final case just yesterday.
Weve bet heavily on bringing back a 21st-century version of vocational education. Just this fall,
the District launched nine new high school career academies at six DCPS and two public
charter schools in partnership with the National Academy Foundation. The NAF Academies will
prepare students in three of the Districts most vital and fast-growing career sectors:
information technology, engineering and hospitality.
Weve also continued to work to make navigating our complex education system easier for our
families. For the first time last year, families were able to use a single online application to apply
to DCPS and most public charter schools through My School DC, the Districts first-ever common
lottery system. In its first year, My School DC received more than 17,000 applications from
families interested in attending one of 200 DCPS or public charter schools this year. 85 percent
of applicants were offered a seat at one of their top three school choices. And this years lottery
just went online on Monday. In just the first two days, more than 3,000 families submitted
We also simultaneously tackled the first comprehensive revision of school boundaries in 46
years. In August 2014, I adopted recommendations based on unprecedented community
engagement and rigorous data analysis to create a roadmap for strengthening neighborhood
schools while maintaining a complementary and equitable system of school choice. Some said
this action could wait. Well, weve been waiting for 40 years. Our kids deserve action now, and I
wasnt going to wait just because moving forward was politically risky. Sometimes doing the
right thing means taking bold action. This was one of those times.
Some youth need more help to succeed and require additional supports to get them back in
school and on track. For those disconnected youth, this fall we opened the Districts first-ever
ReEngagement Center to reconnect youth to educational options and other critical services to
support their attainment of a high school diploma or equivalency. Additionally, driven by the
inter-agency work of the Truancy Task Force, truancy has declined significantly in the past three
years with a 25 percent reduction in chronic truancy rates in the 2013-2014 school year.
In addition to providing our students with a world-class education, our children and families
deserve world-class recreation and community spaces too. Through our PlayDC initiative weve
completely refurbished 42 District playgrounds in every ward of the city thats nearly half of all
the playgrounds in the District renovated in just three years.
We have also invested in improving those critical neighborhood learning centers known as our
public libraries. Since 2011, we have completely modernized seven neighborhood libraries in the
District into state-of-the-art community resources. In addition, construction is underway on two
more libraries Woodridge in Ward 5 and West End in Ward 2, which we just broke ground on
this past Monday. Additional library modernization projects are on the way for Cleveland Park,
Palisades, and Capitol View. Finally, my team has worked closely with the D.C. Public Library on
an ambitious plan to completely rebuild and transform the Districts flagship downtown library
the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. The new MLK will both respect the architectural

integrity and legacy of this landmark building while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of
what it means to be a 21st century knowledge and community center.
But for a city to rise together, simply meeting the basic needs of jobs, housing, and education is
not enough. We must strive to treat each other as equals, with dignity and respect. That is why I
have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken advocate of full equality for all District
residents particularly for immigrants and those in the LGBT community. Im proud of my
administrations track record on equity and inclusiveness.
First, we were on the right side of history when I led the effort to enable undocumented
residents to obtain drivers licenses while not jeopardizing the Districts compliance with the
federal REAL ID Act. It leads to both safer streets and a more just city for everyone. And we
refused to implement the flawed federal Secure Communities program, ensuring that MPD had
no role in enforcing a failed federal immigration policy.
And I am particularly proud of the great strides we have made in ensuring full equality for the
Districts LGBT community. For example, we launched the first-ever District governmentsponsored transgender employment initiative under the Department of Employment Services
Project Empowerment Program.
In 2012, we launched a groundbreaking, first-in-the nation Transgender and Gender Identity
Respect Campaign. It was designed to increase understanding for transgender and gender-nonconforming people; curtail discrimination and violence; and increase reporting of discrimination
to the Office of Human Rights. Later that year, I was proud to sign the Districts Youth Bullying
Prevention Act and appoint a Bullying Prevention Task Force, which created a Model Bullying
Prevention Policy for the entire city. More recently, my office of LGBT Affairs partnered with law
enforcement to solicit community impact statements from the LGBT community in cases of antiLGBT hate crimes.
I was also proud to sign into law the JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Act
which allows people undergoing gender transition to receive a new birth certificate more
accurately reflecting their gender identity. And I signed the Marriage Officiant Amendment
Act which allows couples to be married by officiants other than just a religious celebrant,
judge, or designated clerk. I have performed nine marriages, with the first wedding I officiated
under this new law that of Rob and Carlos a same-sex couple.
Earlier this year my administration guaranteed health-care equity to residents who are
transgender by requiring health insurers to follow the science and recognize gender dysphoria
as a medical condition. This means all individual and group policies must cover any medically
necessary treatment for gender dysphoria a monumental and nation-leading step forward in
protecting the health of the Districts transgender residents.
Like much of America, the makeup of the District is changing as urban areas across the country
see growth in their senior populations. My administration has focused on ensuring that the
District is friendly to all age groups.
In 2012, I committed the District to pursuing admission into the World Health Organization and
AARPs Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities launching the Age-Friendly D.C.
Initiative to make the District welcoming and livable for residents of all ages. A short time later I

established an Age-Friendly D.C. Task Force, and just last week we published the Age-Friendly
DC Strategic Plan. Over the next three years, the District will work to implement the strategies
laid out in the plan to ensure we are more senior-friendly.
I also appointed a Real Property Tax Ombudsman to work with the Office of the Chief Financial
Officer to assist mostly senior homeowners who may owe back property taxes and who are at
risk of foreclosure and eviction. Before any foreclosure moves forward, the Ombudsman now
reviews and advises on these cases and connects seniors with people who can help
them. Additionally, in my Fiscal Year 2015 budget, I proposed significant property-tax relief for
seniors who have been long-term residents of the District. Although the Council chose not to
fund this tax relief, it is my sincere hope that it will do so in the future.
And that future will be bright only if we work now to preserve it. Thats why I created and
implemented one of the most comprehensive and ambitious citywide sustainability plans in the
world. My Sustainable DC plan is an award-winning initiative to make the District the healthiest,
greenest, and most livable city in the country. The full implementation plan sets 32 goals, 31
targets, and 143 specific actions in the areas of the built environment, energy, food, nature,
transportation, waste, and water.
By Earth Day of this year, 83 percent of Sustainable DC actions were underway. Twenty-seven
agencies are directly involved in implementing actions. And my administration advanced several
strategic pieces of legislation to support the mission of Sustainable DC including the Ban on
Combustion of Coal Act; the Community Renewables Act; and two omnibus packages of
legislation, the Sustainable DC Act of 2012 and the Sustainable DC Amendment Act of 2014
which phased out the use of Styrofoam.
We also invested in innovative projects that demonstrate the District governments
commitment to sustainability, including smart-roof analysis for all District buildings, a pilot
composting program, more than 100 anti-idling devices on MPD cruisers, and the planting of
more than 1,500 new trees. Moreover, we aim to reduce energy consumption in District
government facilities by 20 percent by 2020 and save the District more than $10 million dollars
annually. Already, in just our first year of implementation, we estimate District taxpayers
realized $2.1 million dollars in energy savings while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by more
than 13,000 tons. And I bet you didnt know that 100 percent of the District governments
power comes from renewable sources!
The Districts actions to build a sustainable future have received national and international
recognition. The District was named one of the three most sustainable cities in the nation by the
STAR Communities Rating System and awarded the highest 4-STAR Rating to date, surpassing
cities such as Austin and Portland. For the third year in a row the District finished #1 in the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agencys Annual Green Power Community Challenge with the highest
annual green power usage community-wide. And we solidified our green-building-superstar
status by surpassing 100 million square feet of LEED-certified space. This placed the District in
the same category as only three other cities, each with much larger populations: New York City,
Chicago, and Houston.
While we work to build a sustainable city, we must also build a safe city. As I stand before you
tonight, the District of Columbia has never been safer. My administration steadfastly focused,

with major success, on consolidating and building on significant gains the District has made in
public safety in recent years.
Together, Deputy Mayor Quander, Chief Lanier and I oversaw significant drops in the Districts
homicides as well as homicide rates. This included a drop from 132 murders in 2010 to 88
homicides in 2012 the lowest total in more than half a century!
When I took office, we moved quickly to address a significant decline in the Metropolitan Police
Departments ranks of sworn officers which was on a trajectory to fall to levels that would be
dangerous in a city that has grown not only in population, but in economic activity and nightlife.
I increased funding and redoubled efforts to revitalize the Metropolitan Police Academy. Our
efforts have added over 300 new officers to MPDs ranks, bringing the officer corps back up to
4,000. And theyre training in a new, state-of-the art tactical village a miniature city we
designed and built to ensure both new recruits and seasoned officers are ready to face everchanging threats.
Before recent incidents in Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland brought attention to pervasive
issues of inequality and requiring that we think critically about the way we police our cities, MPD
was leading the way with a body-camera pilot program and the most representative police force
in the country. Look at our dedicated officers at MPD they look like our city.
And over the last four years, we have made historic investments more than $21 million -- to
upgrade and replace the outdated fleet of our D.C. Fire & Emergency Medical Services, which
had suffered from years of insufficient attention and maintenance. In just the last three years
we have put into service 33 new ambulances, 10 new pumper engines and five new ladder
trucks to ensure the safety of our residents with more on the way.
Were also hiring and training new firefighters who have the necessary EMS skills to work in a
modern department including reinstituting the FEMS cadet program, which had long been
dormant when I took office and which now provides District high school students with a pipeline
into FEMS.
But we didnt stop there to protect public safety. My administrations One City Youth Initiative
an anti-crime program we designed initially just for the summer months has been so
successful weve transformed it into a year-round effort. The initiative ensures seamless and
efficient coordination between government agencies, community-based organizations, and
other key stakeholders focused on targeted neighborhoods with higher crime rates to create
safe, empowered, healthy, whole youth and communities.
We redoubled our efforts to assist the Districts returning citizens as they have come back from
incarceration including creating a Re-Entry One-Stop Resource Center to provide returning
citizens with a multitude of services all in one place, such as access to training, employment
opportunities and other city services.
Our Department of Corrections has reached a historic low in housing fewer offenders at the D.C.
Jail. Through effective collaboration with federal partners, DOC has reduced the inmate
population from a high of 2,400 to just 1,600 today and we have made several other
improvements to the D.C. Jail for inmates, launching a mobile library system and improving
health services.

We also devoted major resources and created several new initiatives to combat domestic
violence and sexual assault. I increased the Office of Victim Services annual budget by $7 million,
allowing the office to restore programs and assistance to the over 20,000 thousand victims of
violent crime.
The city has made significant strides in improving services for youth in our juvenile-justice
system. They include a new diversion program to address the need for additional options for
young people seized by MPD for low-level offenses, an astounding 40 percent reduction in the
re-arrest rate for youth in the care of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and a
dramatic increase in the number of youth offenders in the community who are being
successfully electronically monitored rather than incarcerated.
A city needs not only to be safe, but also livable and walkable and my administration has
moved the ball forward aggressively on transportation. We created a 25-year strategic
transportation plan called moveDC, and have advanced several major transportation projects
that make it easier to get around the District. Weve created nearly 20 miles of new bike lanes,
9.3 miles of shared lanes, and 25 miles of bike routes marked with signs.
And we have continued to expand the innovative and highly successful Capital Bikeshare
program, adding 102 stations in the last 4 years for a total of 202 stations within the Districts
border. This has doubled the initial size of the system. Membership has surpassed 22,000, with
approximately 9 million trips taken to date.
In 2011, after inheriting a stalled implementation of a revived streetcar system, we completed
construction of the H Street/Benning Road line and planning is underway for additional
segments in Anacostia and across the city. Now I know more than anyone that bringing this
streetcar system online has been a bumpy road. But were close, ladies and gentlemen. Once
we get that first line up and running, everyone is going to see the value of building out the full
streetcar system!
In other areas, weve worked with our federal partners to ensure critical infrastructure
improvements for the District and region such as the 11th Street Bridge Project, where weve
completed two missing ramps connecting the river bridges to DC-295, moved freeway traffic out
of our neighborhoods and onto the highway system, and constructed a new local bridge that
connects communities on both sides of the Anacostia. Likewise, we are working to update the
60-plus-year-old Fredrick Douglass South Capitol Street Bridge. At over $1 billion, the project will
be the largest project ever undertaken by DDOT.
When I took office, I said that a world capital like the District needs a world-class taxi system
and we have made significant progress in upgrading our taxi infrastructure. All District taxis now
accept credit cards; vehicles are transitioning to a uniform red-and-gray color scheme, with the
entire fleet required to adopt the design by 2018; a new standardized dome light for taxicabs
has cut down on rogue operators and made identifying on-duty taxis much easier; enhanced
safety devices for riders and drivers alike will be installed next year; and a Universal Taxi App is
under development and is expected to be available in early 2015. And people said we would
never change the D.C. taxi industry!

As the country moves into a new era of health-care delivery, I have worked to keep our public
health system on the cutting edge ensuring that the highest percentage of residents possible
not only have health insurance, but also access to high-quality care providers.
First, the District moved aggressively to implement President Obamas Affordable Care Act,
setting up one of the nations most successful statewide insurance marketplaces, DC Health
Link. The exchange opened on October 1, 2013 and was recognized by Bloomberg News as one
of only four states in the nation whose marketplace was fully functional that first day. Since its
launch, DC Health Link has served more than 63,000 District residents, small business owners
and employees who have chosen a health plan or qualified for Medicaid coverage. To those
who say that the Affordable Care Act isnt working, I say come and look at what weve done
here in the District of Columbia.
But we know not everything is perfect. Weve expanded efforts to reduce an infant-mortality
rate that once was among the worst in the nation. In the early 1990s, the District was plagued
by a sky-high rate, reaching upwards of 20 deaths per 1,000 births. After implementation of a
plan, the Districts rate declined to 7.9 for 2012, with data clearly indicating that it will drop to a
historic low of 6.6 for 2013 once final figures are available. But we must further reduce infant
mortality which is why this year we launched a new prevention effort that I was proud to
announce at this years Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York. This public-private
partnership involves more than 40 community providers and corporate partners and includes
the development of a five-year Infant Mortality Reduction Action Plan.
And although we are doing much better now, we continue to experience an HIV/AIDS epidemic
here in the District. That is why upon taking office I took steps to accelerate our efforts to fight
the disease. The good news is that HIV/AIDS cases in the District declined 42 percent between
2008 and 2012 the years for which we now have reliable data. As a result of the Districts
needle exchange programs, there has also been an 81 percent decrease among new cases
attributable to injection drug use, new AIDS cases declined 35 percent, and deaths among
persons with HIV decreased 36 percent. I also instituted a treatment-on-demand program that
has helped improve the rate at which those testing positive for HIV in the District are linked to
care now at 86 percent within the first three months. We are making progress in fighting HIV.
And on the financial side of health care, we took several major steps to reform longstanding
problems with the Districts Medicaid program that involved wasting taxpayer dollars including
dramatically reducing fraud in the Medicaid Personal Care Program and improving the way
public providers billed Medicaid services resulting in more than $10 million reclaimed for the
District from Medicaid over the last three years, with more savings expected in the future.
And then there is the United Medical Center. Many District residents dont even realize that the
District owns and operates a hospital on the East End of the city a hospital that has historically
suffered large annual operating losses, covered by our taxpayers. When I took office, it was
clear that the only hospital east of the Anacostia River could go on incurring these losses and
needed to be transformed into a self-sustaining community medical center. Relying on
significant community input, we engaged an outside team of consultants who developed a
strategic plan which has significantly turned around UMC. With the implementation of that plan,
the District operating subsidy to UMC has been significantly reduced, with no operating subsidy
budgeted for this year. Emergency care has markedly improved, new primary care and specialty

physicians have been recruited to the community, and training programs have been initiated for
employees and managers to create a better, more engaged workforce. And just yesterday, we
made the biggest UMC announcement yet: Howard University and Paladin have jointly
purchased the operations of the hospital from the District and will continue to operate UMC,
providing quality, community-focused healthcare on the East End. We will do all this while
retaining ownership of UMCs buildings and equipment and without financial liability to the
Now, with my background in human services, I worked assiduously to ensure that the Districts
massive human-services system worked as efficiently and effectively as possible. This required
reforms to many programs that had longstanding challenges, maximizing benefits to program
participants and taxpayers alike.
Our Department of Human Services completely overhauled the Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families program. With extensive stakeholder engagement and research on best practices, DHS
implemented an approach that provides individualized services to overcome barriers but also
holds DHS, providers and program participants accountable for moving families from
dependence to dignity. The agency built an individualized model of assistance, and for the first
time ever completed customized assessments for more than 20,000 customers. As a result of
these reforms, my administration has moved nearly 6,900 people from welfare to work.
In an effort to address the demand for housing for homeless families, I launched the 500
Families. 100 Days. Quality DC Housing Now Campaign this past April. Through this campaign,
DHS, in collaboration with The Community Partnership and Transitional Housing Corporation,
identified and screened more than 941 apartments. To date, 464 formerly homeless families
have been placed in units.
And weve worked hard to do right by our veterans. In addition to releasing a plan to better
support all our veterans, Im proud to say that my administration put in place the resources and
a plan to end chronic veterans homelessness in the District by 2016.
In response to multiple issues identified with the Districts central shelter for families
experiencing homelessness, I tasked my team to develop a plan to close the D.C. General Family
Shelter. As I have said many times, a shelter is no place to raise a family. That plan, released
earlier this fall, recommends a one-for-one replacement of the 288 units currently provided at
D.C. General to be available in smaller, community-based, shelters. Under the plan, full closure
of D.C. is projected by 2016 at the latest.
And our reform efforts dont stop with homelessness. My administration implemented multiple
reforms to the Districts child-welfare system including shifting from a focus on child removal to
a focus on strengthening families and keeping them together while dramatically decreasing the
number of children in foster care. We now have the lowest number of children in foster care
that we have seen in decades.
And were on the cutting edge of human services, using a new social-service innovation the
Social Impact Bond to further reduce teen-pregnancy in the District. This initiative will
decrease teen pregnancy and increase educational outcomes for District girls, providing an
evidence-based intervention for up to 8,000 at-risk high school students. Through an innovative

public-private partnership, private funders will provide the upfront capital to deliver the
intervention and the District will only pay for this project if its goals are achieved.
One of the accomplishments of which Im the most proud is that we havent shied away from
tackling difficult and persistent problems. In fact, we took them head on tough problems like
ending costly court oversight in a number of long-running legal suits Petties, Blackman-Jones,
Dixon, Evans, LaShawn A. and Jerry M. that stemmed from past problems at District agencies.
In the Petties case, the District brought to a close a nearly 15-year-long period of court oversight
of the citys transportation system for special education students and the process by which
special education providers are paid -- saving the District approximately half a million dollars
annually. In the Dixon suit, the District brought three decades of litigation challenging the
provision of mental health services in the community to a conclusive end in 2013. We also made
great strides in improving patient care at St. Elizabeths Hospital under the settlement
agreement in United States v. District of Columbia and, for the first time in seven years, the
Districts inpatient psychiatric facility is no longer under federal oversight.
Moreover, we didnt shrink from addressing major, chronic infrastructure problems that
negatively affected whole neighborhoods. When a series of heavy summer storms caused
repeated, severe street flooding in the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park communities, I created a
task force to recommend ways to mitigate the problem. Now, a $600 million program is
revamping the system to relieve pressure on an overstressed section of the Northeast Boundary
Trunk Sewer line. Similarly, after a derecho knocked out power to tens of thousands across the
District in the summer of 2012, I created a Power Line Undergrounding Task Force to
recommend ways to address the problem. Through a collaborative process, the Government of
the District of Columbia approved a multi-year $1 billion power line undergrounding project to
help prevent prolonged electric service outages during significant weather events.
And weve tackled these tough problems while running the most open, accountable and
transparent government in District history. For example, I made myself constantly available to
the press. I held quarterly meetings with the chairs of our Advisory Neighborhood Commissions
and our Boards and Commissions.
And we listened to our employees. Thats why I mended fences with labor and gave unions a
spot at the table, reinstating the Districts Labor-Management Partnership Council and brokering
a project labor agreement for the future D.C. United soccer stadium. I also am proud to have
signed legislation that raised the minimum wage in the District, providing one of the highest and
most progressive living wages in the nation.
My administration instituted a wide variety of reforms to make data and information more
available and accessible to the public. In order to improve transparency and government
performance, we created an Open Data Advisory Group and an Open Data Initiative featuring a
new FOIAXpress system to strengthen government accountability by modernizing the Districts
information-request process under the Freedom of Information Act. Coupled with an awardwinning new web portal and a first-of-its kind social media engagement program called, the District has never been more open, accountable and tech-forward.
Perhaps the toughest challenge of all for District residents is our continued lack of full
democracy. As you all know, Ive always been a strong advocate for statehood and the rights of

the residents of the District of Columbia. We are 660,000 strong, at last Census Bureau estimate,
and growing by more than 1,100 new residents per month, and we deserve the freedom to
govern ourselves and set our own legislative and budget priorities as well as gain voting
representation in Congress.
I worked to bring more awareness to the topic early in my administration by joining with several
Councilmembers and other District leaders to be arrested as part of a spontaneous
demonstration against a congressional budget deal that violated the Districts right to spend its
own local funds in ways District residents have approved.
Throughout my term, I met regularly with federal officials with oversight roles over the District,
including with House and Senate Leadership and the relevant House and Senate committee
chairs and urged them to support District autonomy. I also testified at congressional hearings on
the Districts budget and autonomy including the first to be held on a District statehood bill in
more than 20 years.
Perhaps one of my greatest tests as Mayor was during last years federal government shutdown.
I used my emergency powers and emergency funds made available because of wise fiscal
stewardship to keep the District functioning during an avoidable federal shutdown. In fact, we
went so far as to provide services on behalf of shuttered federal agencies, such as trash
collection on the National Mall. And language has been included in congressional spending plans
that, at least for the immediate future, exempts our city from a federal shutdown.
In part because of my efforts, President Obama included in several of his budgets language that
would have granted the District budget autonomy. Although Congress did not adopt it, I remain
hopeful that similar language will be adopted by a future Congress. And although I admit to
being disheartened by Congresss recent actions over the marijuana referendum, I cannot give
up hope. Call me nave, but our cause is too just our goal too righteous to be forever denied
the basic democratic rights enjoyed by all other American citizens.

Recommendations for the Next Administration

Now, I have shared with you what can be accomplished in the District in just four short years
when you assemble a great team, work with District residents, and roll up your sleeves and
tackle tough challenges. This is what meaningful, inclusive change looks like and as District
residents, you are entitled to this same level of progress over the next four years.
Based on my experience as a Councilmember, Council Chair, and for the last four years your
Mayor, I would like to offer a few specific areas where we cannot waver.
First, fiscal responsibility. No matter how hard the choices, the District must adopt structurally
balanced budgets, spending no more than we take in. And we must resist any temptation to
increase the debt cap. Taking on more debt than can be managed will lower our bond rating,
increase the interest rates we pay, and generate debt-service payments that will soon eclipse
other important budget priorities. If we do not maintain our fiscal health, everything else will

Second, we must continue to grow and diversify the Districts economy. We are long past the
time of being able to rely on the federal government to run the engine of our local economy.
We must continue to nurture and invest in emerging sectors like technology.
Third, as our city grows more prosperous, we must use every tool in our toolbox to preserve the
District as a socio-economically and racially diverse city. This includes continued investments in
affordable housing, tax relief for seniors, and education especially early childhood
education. It includes continued forward-thinking solutions like inclusionary zoning. And while
were at it, lets work with Congress to change the Height Act so that we can decide for
ourselves whether to create more density in certain areas of the city and lower the cost of
housing. If we fail to take these steps, the District will no longer be the vibrantly diverse city
that draws us to it in the first place.
Fourth, we must not falter on school reform. After many years of hard work and investment, we
are hitting our stride in education reform. It was never going to be an overnight process; change
will come only if we are in this for the long haul. For our childrens sake, let us continue our
resolve, make the hard choices when necessary, and continue to move the ball forward.
Fifth, governing a city requires making real and tough decisions; if your goal is to make everyone
happy, you are in the wrong line of work. I urge our citys leaders not to shy away from making
tough, disciplined decisions when it is in the best interest of the District. Heres a tip the more
emotionally charged an issue is, the more that calm, dispassionate and reasoned decisionmaking is required.
Sixth, our residents deserve unprecedented openness and transparency. As just one small
example, for four years I held a press conference every other week and answered any question
the media threw at me. It wasnt always fun, but I believed it was important to have an open
dialogue with the press and the District was better for it. This kind of openness, accessibility,
and accountability is the kind of tradition that should continue.
And finally, we must never give up the fight for self-determination for the District of Columbia.
Were not a federal enclave; were a vibrant, bustling city of 660,000. Our residents pay our
nations taxes and fight our nations wars yet we still are not allowed to elect a voting member
of Congress. Its archaic, unjust and undemocratic. We took some strides over the last four
years, but, frankly, not enough. And even last week we suffered a setback. But rather than give
up the fight or accept this injustice, we must find ways to keep fighting until we arrive at our
final destination real democracy for the residents of the District of Columbia.

And so, today, we celebrate another end. My circle has come to a close at the most fitting of
locations my alma mater, Dunbar High School. Now, of course, this was not the school building
I attended. This new Dunbar opened just last year, and its a proud testament to the good work
of the District government and my administrations commitment to securing a bright future for
our children. This is a school, like so many others in the District, which symbolizes the hope and
promise of our citys young people. And they, in turn, symbolize the hope and promise of our

great city. And so it is on their behalf that I remind you that it is up to us all of us to continue
to make the District a better, more just place to live, work, and play.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone whom I have worked with as Mayor. To my
deputy mayors, agency directors and staff I thank you for all of your hard work over the last
four years. This has been an administration filled with many talented individuals. The women
and men who have joined with me to move the District forward are some of the most gifted and
dedicated people I know. They care deeply about the District, and I know they will go on to do
great things.
And finally, and most importantly, I want to thank the residents of the District of Columbia for
allowing me to serve as your Mayor. As many of you know, most nights I work late at the Wilson
Building. As my eyelids grew heavy, with yet another memo or report to read, my mind would
often turn to that sophomore at Dunbar, that single mother in Deanwood, that family in
Petworth, that firefighter in Cleveland Park. You gave me the energy to go on, to continue to
give my best for this city.
In two weeks, I will step down as your Mayor -- but not as your friend, your neighbor, or your
advocate. This is not a farewell. I look forward to seeing each and every one of you around the
I leave you with this thought: how fortunate we are to live in this great city, which has come so
far in so little time. Given the progress we have made in just the past few years, it is clearer to
me than ever that our potential is boundless. And if we stay committed, not only can we
become the One City of which I dream, but we can also become be the 51st state of the United
States of America!
Thank you all. Good night.