Proven. Progressive. Leadership.
“As chairman of the council, I work to improve the quality of life for all DC residents. I believe in practical government that responsibly delivers services. That is my record.”
DC residents know that Phil is an original, progressive leader.
Phil Mendelson was first elected to the DC Council in November 1998 as an At-Large Councilmember. He served in that role until June 2012, when, following the resignation of the previous Council Chair, he was selected by his colleagues to serve as Chairman. In November 2012 and 2014, District voters elected and re-elected Phil as Council Chair.
As Chairman, Phil leads the Council on all legislative matters. He also presides over the Committee of the Whole which has purview over the DC Auditor, the annual budget process, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, planning and zoning, procurement, regional bodies (except WMATA and DC Water), the DC government’s retirement system, statehood issues, federal relations, and the University of the District of Columbia.
Prior to becoming Chairman, Phil served eight years as Chair of the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary. In that capacity, he was responsible for writing the District’s criminal laws, as well as providing oversight of the District’s public safety agencies – including the Metropolitan Police Department, Fire & Emergency Medical Services Department, and the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.
During his tenure on the Council, Phil has authored hundreds of pieces of legislation that have been enacted into law, including: the establishment of an elected Attorney General and an independent Department of Forensic Science (the city’s crime lab); the District’s budget autonomy and gun control laws; marriage equality; Universal Paid Leave; and the District’s tree canopy protection law. He led the charge at the Council to fix Mayor Bowser’s plan to close the homeless families shelter at DC General, and Mayor Gray’s plan to build the DC United soccer stadium; he helped establish the District’s first renewable portfolio standard for electricity generation; he coordinated an increase in the minimum wage with Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties; and implemented the recommendations of the 2012 Tax Revision Commission that has made the District’s income tax one of the most progressive in the nation and reduced the business franchise tax by almost 20%.
Phil is a pragmatic and progressive leader. He believes that government should be an honest, efficient deliverer of high-quality services to District residents, and should help those least able to help themselves to develop the skills to become self-sufficient and end the cycle of poverty. He believes that government must accomplish this without increasing the tax burdens already shouldered by our middle income residents. Throughout his years of public service, Phil has maintained that the District, as the nation’s capital, should be a model of service delivery in public education, public safety, and public health.
Phil came to the District from Cleveland, Ohio in 1970 to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from American University. He grew up in a family dedicated to public service. His mother was a national crusader for nursing home reform. His grandmother, who had been President of the Michigan State League of Women Voters, was appointed by President Roosevelt to the Federal Office of Price Administration, and was a founder of the Grand Rapids Urban League.
Phil has an adorable daughter Adelaide, who attends DC Public Schools. He lives in Southeast DC.