The 2024 Platform of the
District of Columbia Republican Part
The Republican Party of the District of Columbia (DC GOP), the nation’s only urban Republican Party, is dedicated to building the economy in America’s Capital City, making our city safe, fighting discrimination, protecting individual rights, and improving life for DC citizens. Our history of support for limited government, civil rights, women’s suffrage, free markets, and the rule of law gives us the courage to lead. As the great Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Douglass was a member of the DC Republican Party from 1870 until his death in 1895.
The DC GOP is the Party of Opportunity.
We believe in opportunities to improve our economy, safety, freedom, education, healthcare, housing, and civic environment and strive to create these for all who live, work, and visit Washington, DC. Our Platform outlines the ways we will create opportunity for all.
Members of the DC GOP believe citizens of Washington, DC desire greater economic prosperity, and we will find every opportunity to improve our local economy. In the words of President Ronald Reagan, “There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”
The DC GOP believes in growing our economy to make our city an engine of opportunity, benefiting citizens across Washington, DC and beyond. To this end, we will work with the DC elected leaders to reduce onerous regulations that limit the ability of DC businesses to grow and prosper, and when collaboration with those officials is impossible, we will fight a regulatory environment that harms economic opportunities.
In recent years, the DC GOP notes with despair the ways that the DC Council has restricted economic growth and economic freedom unilaterally, without input from voters, and we pledge to do everything in our power to reverse this unfortunate trend.
This trend, we note with dismay, is aimed especially at small businesses, which are important engines of opportunity in our city. Instead of encouraging small business growth, the DC Council views these entrepreneurs as a funding source, taxing, regulating, and often driving them from our city. The DC Republican Party will work at all levels of city government to reduce regulation and taxes on small businesses.
With the second largest per capita budget in the country, the DC government has the money to make our city great but lacks fiscal discipline and strategic vision to create economic opportunity. The DC GOP will work to create efficiencies and accountability within this massive budget.
DC taxes are unchecked, because local officials believe in spending and taxing, rather than creating strategic economic policies to encourage economic growth, and we will continue to fight these policies. DC workers are moving outside our city’s boundaries to places with lower taxes, better schools, and superior infrastructure, and this is depleting the DC tax base. The DC GOP supports efforts by Republicans in the U.S. Congress to strengthen America’s economy by lowering taxes, but this work is unfinished. The DC GOP will continue to work with allies in Congress for lower taxes, leaving money in the pockets of citizens to help our citizens – and our city – prosper.
Washington, DC is a beautiful city, and the DC GOP calls on city leaders to do everything in their power to keep it beautiful, encouraging tourism, one of the greatest engines of economic opportunity in the nation’s capital, and fighting blight, including the festering rat problem across wards.
Opportunities to Keep Residents Safe
One of the core responsibilities of government is to foster a safe environment for citizens, yet our city sees a rising tide of murders, shootings, carjackings, and thefts. This trend must be reversed, and the current Democrats running the nation’s Capital City are doing little to squelch crime. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”
Yet, wrongdoers have the power in DC. The DC GOP calls for support of DC police as they work to make our streets safer. We believe in stemming the rise of violent crime, encouraging community-oriented policing, and expanding its deployment, and supporting federal laws on drug enforcement, immigration, homelessness, and human trafficking.
We call for meaningful criminal justice reform to reduce recidivism rates and initiate rehabilitation efforts. The DC GOP understands the burden of policing has increased over the years and that local police officers are neither social workers nor mental health clinicians. However, the civil rights of all citizens must be upheld and protected even in the most difficult of situations, and sentencing discrepancies along racial and socioeconomic lines must cease. The rule of law applies to everyone.
The Metropolitan Police force is smaller than it has been since the 1960s, while the need for police to keep our streets safe is at perpetual high. The DC GOP calls for hiring more police to match needs in our city.
Encouraging police officers to live in the communities where they work is a growing nation-wide trend, important because the officers get to know the people in and needs of their communities, are invested in positive outcomes for their communities, and can inspire their neighbors. Likewise, school resource officers could make our schools safer environments for students to learn and thrive.
DC must not become the Amsterdam of the United States. The legalization of marijuana in our city is changing public safety dynamics, and the DC GOP calls for the enforcement of marijuana laws. Not only are drivers under the influence of marijuana making our streets less safe, the wide use of the drug is evident across the city, against DC law.
The DC GOP believes that increasing police presence in our city is an appropriate and important use of DC taxpayers’ money.
The DC GOP supports the safety and security of all DC residents, and as the United States Capital City, we have special obligations to our national elected leaders, U.S. Government departments and agencies, foreign representatives residing in our city, and the millions of annual visitors to America’s Capital. In the words of President Ronald Reagan, “The American people expect that the nation will remain secure; they have a right to security and we have an obligation to provide it.”
The DC GOP will always uphold our obligation to keep DC residents, America, and U.S. and international officials living and working, here safe. To that end, we call for increasing police presence for the safety of residents, officials, and visitors.
And the DC GOP calls for giving the city’s mayor control over the DC National Guard, which since 1812 has upheld its mandate to protect Washington, DC.
DC transportation is critical to residents, those working in our city, and our visitors, but for too long, transport – whether public or private – has been driven by revenue considerations, as opposed to safety.
All residents of the District of Columbia deserve safe transportation options across our city, whether driving, using public transport, self-propelled transport, or online ridesharing applications, such as Uber or Lyft.
To these ends, the DC GOP supports initiatives to reduce crime on public transportation, investigate whether the proliferation of speed cameras is making DC streets safer, identify ways to make the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) more effective, and find ways for the needs of business and those on self-propelled transport to be balanced.
Since city leaders want revenue-driven transportation policy, the DC GOP calls for enforcement. If traffic laws and violation fines were enforced, DC streets would be safer, and coffers would be larger. Likewise, if Metro fare evaders were stopped and fined, not only would funds accrue to the WMATA, but there would be a secondary benefit of discouraging the practice.
Opportunities for Freedom
President George Washington said, “While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscious in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men…”
George Washington’s words guide the DC GOP demand for rights for all citizens of the District of Columbia, because as America’s Capital City, we must lead the way on non-discrimination, civil rights, and religious freedom.
The DC GOP supports nondiscrimination, and the protection of civil and religious rights. We support the free exercise of religion and believe no person should be compelled to act against their religious beliefs. We will work to reduce burdensome regulations against houses of worship.
The DC GOP supports amending Federal civil rights laws to protect against employment or housing discrimination because of age, religion, race, national origin, sexual orientation, or marital status
The DC GOP is the party of educational freedom and opportunity. We believe decisions regarding the education of children properly belong to parents and guardians. Improving education opportunities in the nation’s capital will inspire the next generation and have added benefits supporting our economy, public safety, and community.
The DC government should allow and promote educational alternatives for students and parents, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, private, independent, parochial schools, micro schooling and homeschooling.
The DC GOP stands against the public school teachers’ unions agenda that opposes the swift removal of ineffective teachers and longer school days and years.
The DC GOP opposes any attempt to unionize or overregulate high performing DC Public Charter Schools. DC must ensure that they get their fair share of public funds, give them the right of first refusal when seeking to use public schools that close because of system overcapacity, and, as appropriate, co-locate high performing public charter schools within struggling, underutilized neighborhood public schools.
The DC GOP supports public funds in education following students, whether to traditional neighborhood or charter schools, to private schools or even to homeschooling or micro schooling so that students are not stuck in underperforming schools.
The DC GOP supports the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) that provides scholarships for low¬ income students to attend private, independent, and parochial K¬12 schools in DC. The program should be restored, expanded, and tried elsewhere.
The DC GOP supports the federally funded DC Tuition Assistance Grant provides scholarships to DC high school graduates. It has provided financial assistance to financially disadvantaged families and encouraged participation in DC public schools from middle class families, who in the past tended to move out of the District when their children reached junior high or high school in order to be eligible for in state tuition elsewhere.
The DC GOP calls for a non-ideological approach to teaching in our schools, especially teaching about the U.S. Constitution and American history.
Opportunities for Improving DC Life
Health and Human Services
Healthcare in the District is broken. The DC GOP believes that healthcare regulations should work for the benefit of all residents of the District of Columbia. In the words of President Reagan, “It’s high time that we put health care costs under the knife and cut away the waste and inefficiency. The growth in medical costs is malignant and must be removed for the continued health of the American people.”
DC citizens are faced with high healthcare costs, inequity in healthcare access and outcomes, and inadequate healthcare services, especially in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8. DC citizens also lack a comprehensive healthcare system to deal with the growing needs of our senior citizens, the disabled, mothers and children, drug addicts, and the un- and under-insured.
For those who cannot afford health insurance, a payment plan by the city government with strong oversight would be an appropriate use of funds from the city’s massive budget.
For those who can afford care, they should not be forced into the DC Healthlink marketplace, otherwise known as Obamacare. DC is one of the few jurisdictions in America that forces citizens to purchase their insurance through a government-sponsored source, driving up costs. Many are opting to pay a fine, instead of participating in this marketplace, where health insurance costs have quadrupled for most over the past decade. The DC GOP also calls for increasing telemedicine and medical license reciprocity with doctors in Maryland and Virginia, as these regulations are hindering better healthcare outcomes in our city.
The DC GOP pledges to explore these and other opportunities to get healthcare costs under control and improve outcomes.
Housing and Urbanization
Secretary Kemp, upon being sworn-in as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development said, “[W]e all must keep our minds, our work, and our hearts focused on those we are meant to serve: not just the homebuilder but the homebuyer, not only public housing authorities but the public housing resident, not just mayors and city managers but the poor and those who live temporarily on the streets or in shelters.” The District of Columbia is comprised of vibrant and historical communities that we are proud to call home. Yet, we know our city can do better. For too many, the rising cost of living and the increased displacement of long-standing communities is counter to DC GOP values for our community and individuals living here.
The DC government has Section 8 opportunities for those who cannot afford high market housing prices in the District, but the process, from designations of locations to provision of units, is rife with inefficiency. The DC GOP calls for immediate fixes to the Section 8 housing problems to give residents opportunities to remain in our city and to contribute to our community.
The DC GOP supports initiatives to make homebuying easier, especially for first time owners, and for those unable to afford to buy a home, we support initiatives, including means-tested rent control. As an initiative of last resort but critical to some DC citizens, we promote “housing first” for homeless persons.
The DC GOP opposes using taxpayer funds to promote its sanctuary city policies, which are burdens on legal DC taxpaying residents and lead to increased homelessness and strains on our already broken healthcare system.
At Gettysburg, President Lincoln famously said, “[T]his nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The DC GOP envisions a new birth of freedom for the nation’s capital, and an important part of that freedom is ensuring a fair political environment for all DC voters.
The DC Republican Party has always officially supported the right of DC residents to have voting rights in the Congress as well as budget and legislative autonomy.
DC election laws need to be fair to all political parties – not just the party in power – and political organs of city government need to have fair representation across the political spectrum to uphold democracy in DC. When there is fair political representation, the city can also ensure that only qualified voters residing in the city have the right to vote.
The DC GOP supports revising the DC Home Rule Charter, so there are checks and balances on left-leaning local elected officials, who do not share the values of most DC residents. The DC GOP believes that a revised Home Rule Charter should mandate all local elections are nonpartisan, as is done in approximately 75 percent of major American cities. The DC Council should not be a full-time job for its members, as this breeds inappropriate careerism and corruption, but rather, the DC GOP calls for the DC Council to meet during a limited part of the year with hard caps on spending for staff and other niceties. In the near-term, the DC GOP supports review by the U.S. Congress of the four At-Large DC Council seats.
Additionally, the membership of the DC Council should be expanded, and a cap should be placed on staff budgets. The DC Council should only meet during a limited part of the year as many of the laws proposed and passed by the DC Council today remain unenforced, unimplemented and/or unfunded. By expanding the size and mandating its position as a part-time legislative body, more citizens will be allowed to participate in District of Columbia governance, and it would need to operate more efficiently and effectively within a given window of time each year.
DC elections are punctuated by illegal voting processes and practices, and the DC government can easily fix these with the political will to do so. The DC GOP calls for the DC government to institute transparent voting in our city before the next election.
The DC GOP will work with elected officials in our city and the U.S. Congress to create economic, education, social, and political opportunities for DC citizens, and when these goals are unattainable due to the political environment, we will continue to fight initiatives that hinder those opportunities
Platform Committee: MC Andrews, Jose Cunningham,