The substantive portion of Mayor Gray’s speech began with his mentioning improvements in public safety. “Our city is safer than it has been in decades, with murders at a 51-year low.”
But Mayor Gray placed the greatest emphasis, and he received the biggest applause when talking about creating jobs, investing in affordable housing and growing the economy.
“The District is booming with new businesses, new development and newly revitalized neighborhoods,” he said. “All this economic activity has created 28,000 new private-sector jobs in the past two years.”
He proposed a major affordable-housing initiative to invest $100 million in building and preserving 10,000 units of affordable housing.
Throughout his address, Mayor Gray noted ongoing development projects, such as “CityCenterDC on the site of the old Convention Center, and the CityMarket at O project.”
And he stressed continued action to grow the economy. “[W]e’ve developed a bold Five-Year Economic Development Strategy – the first comprehensive economic-development strategy ever created by the District government.”
Mayor Gray identified sustainability as one of six main ingredients for his vision of the future of the District. “Our residents will live more safely, more healthily and more sustainably,” Mayor Gray said.
“We are…making major progress on my goal of becoming the greenest, healthiest, most livable city in the nation through my Sustainable DC initiative. And in just a few weeks, we will roll out our ambitious, forward-thinking plan to make the Sustainable DC vision a reality,” the Mayor said early in his speech.
Mayor Gray also stressed improved public schools, a diversified economy not hugely dependent on the federal government, and statehood.
During his address the Mayor used the words sustainability twice, public safety and affordable housing six times each, schools 10 times, the economy 15 times, jobs 19 times and education 26 times.
“Let me share with you what I envision for our city,” he said in his conclusion. “We will have the best public schools in the country; we will have a diversified economy no longer hugely dependent on the federal government; [and] there will be a job for every District resident who wants one, and all District residents will have the skills to compete.”
“[O]ur residents will live more safely, more healthily and more sustainably; affordable housing will be spread across all eight of our wards – enough to ensure that the District continues to enjoy a rich diversity of people, cultures, occupations, ages and incomes; and the District of Columbia won’t even be the District of Columbia anymore.”