WASHINGTON - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says the city has come a long way, but there's a lot of work to be done as she heads into what she hopes will be a successful campaign for re-election next year. Bowser announced her plans to run for re-election on social media Friday, and she was live on FOX 5 Monday morning in her first sit-down interview since making the announcement.
"We are very excited to tell everybody in D.C. that I'm going to ask for their vote again come this June in a Democratic primary," Bowser said. "We've had a very successful almost three years in office, and we have a lot of work to finish."
While her first three years in office may have appeared easy to some, she says it only seems easy because her team has been working very hard, and specifically focusing on the things she promised voters she would deliver on in 2014. The first thing on that list was a fresh start for the city, and Bowser says that's exactly what residents have gotten.
"When you go around DC and all eight wards, the pride in our city is so strong-- in fact, I've never seen it stronger," said Bowser, a native Washingtonian.
In her re-election campaign, Bowser said she'll focus issues that remain important to District residents, including schools, affordable housing and transportation. One of the biggest issues the District faces is related to what Bowser calls one of the city's biggest successes: the rising cost of housing.
"When you're attracting almost 1,000 people a month, what you see is housing prices going up," Bowser explained.
To combat the rising prices, Bowser says the city has focused on creating jobs and increasing wages for D.C. residents, with a $15 minimum wage set to be in place by 2020. She said the city has created 8,000 affordable housing units, and in her next term, she said, she knows that could be 10,000 units.
Bowser also talked about creating an infrastructure academy focused on D.C. residents. According to Bowser, 2,500 infrastructure jobs were unfilled last year alone-- jobs with average salaries of $48,000 per year.
Watch the full interview with Bowser to hear more about her plans for the future of the District.
Rematch on the way?
The 2018 race could end up being a rematch from the last mayoral primary election. Bowser defeated former mayor Vincent Gray in 2014, and though he has said he has not decided if he plans to run, many are speculating that it's only a matter of time before he announces that he is. Currently, Gray represents Ward 7 on the city council.
Gray has said he believes he lost to Bowser in 2014 due of allegations of wrongdoing during his 2010 campaign. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to file charges after a nearly five-year investigation and dropped the case.
But after running five campaigns-- all of which were competitive-- Bowser says she's prepared for the challenge any competitor may present.
"I've be challenged every single time," Bowser said. "We are going to build our campaign to be ready for any and all challenges. And any challenger, especially one with a record of having been in public office, will also have to say, 'What have we all done collectively to make sure as our city grows and more Washingtonians can participate in that progress."
On Golden State Warriors invite to DC: 'Tell them Muriel Bowser invited you'
Shortly after President Trump tweeted Saturday that he was withdrawing the invitation to Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry to celebrate the team's NBA championship at the White House, Bowser also took to social media to tell the team why they should know they are welcome in D.C.
She posted the following statement on social media:
“We are Washington, DC. We are proud to be our nation’s capital. We welcome over 20 million visitors a year. Whether you’re here to work, play, practice your First Amendment rights, or lose to our Wizards, we welcome all to visit our museums, our monuments, our restaurants, and our thriving neighborhoods if they do so peacefully and respectfully. While you’re here, Warriors, we are happy to identify ways for you to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — what we call DC values. And if anyone ever tells you that you cannot come to DC, tell them Muriel Bowser invited you.”
Curry said on Friday that he didn't want to go to the White House, and Trump responded the next day saying he was no longer invited.
Bowser told FOX 5 she made a statement welcoming the Warriors for a lot of reasons, but one in particular. The District, she explained, is about much more than the federal government.
"It's important in general that people don't associate Washington, D.C. with only the President and the Congress. We're so much more than that. We're local Washington, we have great neighborhoods, 680,000 residents and we want people to come to our town," Bowser said.
"On the matter of the President attacking an American citizen who has expressed his rights-- it's just unconscionable to me," she added.