DC residents elect government officials to enforce laws and oversee the operation of public services such as police, fire, emergency services, education, public works, zoning and urban planning, parks and recreation, transportation, etc. Since the District of Columbia does not have representation in Congress, its residents also elect officials to lobby in their behalf and influence the Federal Government in regard to local issues. Following is a guide to the elected offices.
- Mayor of the District of Columbia – The mayor is the head of the executive branch of the government and is responsible for enforcing city laws and approving or vetoing bills passed by the Council of the District of Columbia. The Mayor also oversees all city services and most public agencies, appointing officers including the City Administrator, the chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools, and the department heads of city agencies. The mayor serves a four-year term and can be re-elected without term limits. Read a profile of the current Mayor - Mayor Vincent Gray
- Council of the District of Columbia – The Council is the legislative branch of the DC government, which makes and amends the laws, approves the annual budget and financial plan, oversees the operations of government agencies, determines land use, appoints members to certain boards and commissions, and confirms major appointments made by the Mayor. The DC Council has 13 elected members, one from each of the eight wards and five elected at-large. Council members are elected to serve a four-year term. Read more about the DC Council.
- District of Columbia State Board of Education - The Board of Education is responsible for advising the State Superintendent of Education on educational matters, including: state standards; state policies, state objectives and state regulations. The Board consists of nine elected members. One is elected at large and there is one from each of the eight Wards of the District of Columbia. A President and Vice-President are elected annually by the State Board members.
- Advisory Neighborhood Commissions - The District of Columbia has 37 ANCs which are subdivisions of the city's 8 Wards. Representatives are elected to advise the DC government on issues relating to traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection, sanitation and trash collection, and the city's annual budget. ANC Commissioners serve two-year terms and receive no salary. Each Commissioner represents approximately 2,000 residents in his or her Single Member District area.
- US Congressional Representative, Delegate - Since the District of Columbia is not a state, it has no voting representative in Congress. Instead, residents elect a non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives every two years. The delegate is allowed to vote in U.S. House committees and lobbies congressional colleagues regarding the city's interests. Read a profile of the current Delegate – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
- United States Senator and Representative - The offices of Senator and Representative are shadow positions. As non-voting officials, they work with the Congressional Delegate, the Mayor and DC Council members to advance the interest of local residents on Federal issues. These elected officials lobby the Senate and the House of Representatives on behalf of the citizens of the District of Columbia in attempt to gain voting rights in Congress.
Read also, DC Government 101 - Things to Know About DC Laws, Officials, Agencies and More