DC Mayor Muriel Bowser promises new jobs, safer streets during third term in office

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was sworn in for her third term on Monday, becoming the second mayor in the District's history to hold the office for three consecutive terms. In her inaugural speech, she addressed tackling youth crime, getting federal workers back to the office and a new 100,000 resident goal.

In her next term, Bowser has vowed to expand affordable housing, improve public schools and expand the police force, all while keeping the issue of D.C. statehood top of mind for both D.C. residents and lawmakers. 

READ MORE: Mayor Bowser asks residents to submit ideas for 'DC's comeback'

"From the pandemic, to protests, to an insurrection, we’ve stood together. We made it through together," says Mayor Bowser. "And now on the other side, I greet you today with more optimism and more hope for the future than ever before. Not a blind optimism, but one that is informed by a tested leader who knows where we are strong and who knows where we must be stronger."

Bowser spoke about what her administration has accomplished during her time as mayor, pointing to the creation of an 800,000-job economy, a record number of visitors coming to D.C., decreasing unemployment rates and more.

"But we know we can’t rest on our laurels," she says. "We have convened a transition team to talk with residents about our opportunities and our challenges, and to hear their big ideas."

Mayor Bowser says her office will focus on six major areas over the next four years.


Bowser continued to beat the drum about revitalizing downtown D.C. after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We must and we will win back our downtown because it is the economic engine that allows us to invest in our schools, our safety net, and our public works," she says. "It is the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg."

In March 2022, data released by the Mayor’s Office during her budget proposal indicated restaurant spending is down, and properties are struggling to fill commercial real estate spaces.

READ MORE: DC Mayor pushes to help downtown bounce back from the pandemic

Mayor Bowser says there will be a renewed commitment and resources to attract great employers and good-paying jobs. She also says converting office space into housing is key to a more vibrant downtown.

"Right now, 25,000 people call downtown home. Here’s our goal: we will add 15,000 residents over the next five years, and 87,000 more before it’s all said and done," she says. "So, that’s right, we have a new 100,000 resident goal."

Bowser says to achieve this bold goal, D.C. will need the help of the White House. The federal government represents one-quarter of D.C.’s pre-pandemic jobs and owns or leases one-third of D.C.’s office space, according to Mayor Bowser.

"We need decisive action by the White House to either get most federal workers back to the office most of the time or to realign their vast property holdings for use by the local government, by non-profits, by businesses and by any user willing to revitalize it," she says.


Mayor Bowser says D.C. is the only district in the region that is experiencing enrollment growth. She says her administration made D.C. the fastest-improving urban school district in the country and built the best free pre-K in the nation.

READ MORE: Negative COVID-19 tests required for DCPS students as classes resume following winter break

Now, Bowser wants to build the most robust free before- and after-school programs in the nation. 

"We will win for students, teachers, and our schools," she says.

Middle class

Providing a hand to those struggling and making the journey smoother to the middle class is a priority for Bowser. She says her administration has made historic investments in affordable housing, raised the maximum down payment amount and provided property tax relief to seniors.

She says in this next term, she wants to focus on helping those struggling with student debt, single women and moms and double retirees. 

"In part, what we are doing is promising that this city is a place where people with middle incomes choose to live. And in part, we are making that promise by saying that we will not touch the residential property tax, and we will find ways to provide more free activities for families," Bowser says.

Over the next five years, Bowser says D.C. will add 35,000 new jobs in high-growth industries. 

"And we will make sure – that through the work of reimagining our high schools, we will focus on those high growth industries, dual enrollment programs, and earn and learn opportunities in DC," she says.


D.C. Statehood has been a priority for Mayor Bowser during her previous two terms, and she says her third will be no different.

"We will explore every strategy to get more control over our affairs, but we will not stop until we achieve full democracy - two senators and admission as the 51st state," Bowser says.

She promises to keep fighting for "control of everything we need in the District" such as protecting bodily autonomy, the ability to tax and regulate local businesses and providing services to "justice-involved youth."

Infrastructure and climate change

D.C. is set to receive $3 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Mayor Bowser says she plans to replicate the success of projects such as the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge with those funds.

She says another focus of her administration is addressing dangerous roadways and intersections.

"We also have to think bigger about how we use our streets to create more public space for our residents and visitors to come together to celebrate our city and to support our culture," says Bowser.

D.C. has a goal of becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2045, and Mayor Bowser says she has joined with leaders from around the world to develop solutions to move the District closer to that goal.


In her address, Mayor Bowser said nothing is more important to her than the safety of D.C. residents. 

"Behind every act of violence in our community, behind all of the data that is tracked feverishly, there are real people. Behind every murder statistic, there is a devastated family. Behind every violent robbery or carjacking, there is a ripple of trauma. Every time a child picks up a gun, a group of friends loses its innocence," she says.

Through programs like Pathways, Bowser says progress has been incremental, but wants to do more immediately.

READ MORE: Teen killed, another injured during shooting at DC Metro station in violent start to 2023

Her address focused on youth crime and using the facilities D.C. has to bring accountability to kids and steer them in the right direction.

"I’m here to tell everybody, we have the facilities, we have the programs that work to get kids on a better path. So, we want to work with them if they’ve been adjudicated and we want to work with them before they get involved in serious crime. My promise to you is this: to our kids and our community – is that we will use every lifeline to save our children," Bowser says.

Read Mayor Bowser's full inaugural address here.