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Term: Jan. 2, 2015 - Jan. 2, 2019
Time on Council: 2007 to present
Political Affiliation: Democratic Party
Office: 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 108, NW Washington, DC 20004
Tel: (202) 724-8062 | Fax: (202) 724-8118
Chair of: Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Represents: Ward 3
Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Committee of the Whole
Committee on the Judiciary
Committee on Health and Human Services
Chief of Staff
Deputy Chief of Staff & Constituent Services Director
Press Inquiries: (202) 431-5697
Constituent Services Deputy Director
Councilmember Mary Cheh is committed to good government, law reform, and serving her constituent neighbors in Ward 3 and throughout the District.
Mary is known as a common-sense investigator with a firm belief in the power of oversight and accountability. She has a record of providing real solutions and making government and institutions work better. At the request of Councilmember Kathy Patterson, Mary served as pro bono special counsel to the Council of the District of Columbia’s Judiciary Committee during its 2003 investigation into police handling of protests and demonstrations. The report drafted as a result of her work led to model legislation that protects citizen’s rights and provides police officers with clear guidelines. She has also worked on international law reform projects in countries such as Tajikistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
Mary has served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C.; worked pro bono for the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in South Africa; served as a consultant to the National Institute of Justice and the President’s Commission on Organized Crime; chaired the subcommittee on criminal justice for the D.C. Circuit Court’s Task Force on Gender; and has served as a member of the Rules Committee of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and on the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Military Justice. A former member of the ACLU Board and current Vice-Chair of the ACLU Screening Committee, Mary Cheh is an avid defender of civil liberties. She is also a Founder and Co-Director of the Animal Welfare Project, which worked with community leaders, activists, and government officials to craft model animal welfare legislation. Mary also founded Project Re-Entry, a pro bono law reform project that aims to reduce recidivism and assist ex-offenders in their return to productive lives.
Mary is also a tenured law professor at George Washington University, serving as the Elyce Zenoff Research Professor of Law and teaches and writes primarily in the areas of constitutional law and criminal procedure. She chairs the GW Law Public Interest Committee, which assists students in providing legal services to the underserved, and she works with students on community and environmental pro bono projects. Ms. Cheh joined the GW Law School faculty in 1979 after being in private practice with Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Kampelman in Washington, D.C. and serving as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Mary has been honored by the University with an Award for Community Service and with a teaching award from the Law Association for Women.
Finally, Mary is a long-time resident of Ward 3, with deep roots in the community. She and her husband, Neil Lewis, a journalist, moved to Washington in the late 1970s. In 1986 they moved from Cleveland Park to their current home in Forest Hills. Mary and Neil’s two daughters, Jane and Nora Lewis, were born and raised here, both attending Murch Elementary and Georgetown Day School. Mary is a former member of the Murch after-school board, a Stoddert soccer coach (and a licensed referee), and member of the Stoddert Board. For many years, Mary has taught units on constitutional law and “street law” to students in local schools. Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Douglass College and holds law degrees from Rutgers University and Harvard Law School. She is admitted to practice in D.C., New Jersey, Massachusetts, and before federal courts.