Chief of Staff
Candice D. Jones
The Washington Post calls D.C. Councilmember David Catania one of the most influential men in city government. Columnist Colbert King says, “They don't come any smarter, more dedicated or gutsier than Catania. And no one works harder.”
Using his highly regarded work ethic and determination, Catania shocked the District’s political establishment when he claimed victory in a 1997 special election for an At-Large seat on the Council of the District of Columbia. Since that time, he has been re-elected four times – in 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010.
Known for “doing his homework,” Catania has amassed an unparalleled record of achievement since his first election. In 2005, he was chosen by his colleagues to Chair the Council’s Committee on Health which oversees the Departments of Health, Mental Health, and Health Care Finance, as well as a number of health-related boards and commissions. Upon his appointment, Catania made a characteristically bold pledge to eliminate the number of District residents without health care coverage.
Due largely to Catania’s efforts, the District now boasts the lowest rate of uninsured children in the nation and the second lowest uninsured rate for all individuals. In just 5 years, his daring goal of eliminating the number residents without health care coverage is over halfway complete. Since 2005, the District has seen a 54-percent drop in the percentage of its uninsured residents – from 13.5 percent in 2005 to 6.2 percent today. Over the same period, the percent of uninsured children has dropped from 6.3 to 3.2 percent.
Catania’s health care accomplishments, however, do not stop there. During his tenure as Chair of the Health Committee, the District has become the only urban jurisdiction to achieve a “Gold Star” status for pre-school immunizations; created incentives for physicians to practice in underserved areas; placed a school nurse in every school; brought new focus to the HIV/AIDS epidemic; revamped professional standards for medical professionals; and expanded choice in substance abuse treatment programs.
Catania is a national leader in the fight to expand access to safe and affordable prescription drugs. In 2007, he was elected to Chair the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices (NLARx). NLARx consists of elected members of 20 state legislatures from Arizona to Maine who are committed to working across state lines to make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible to people in the United States.
In other areas, Catania was an outspoken voice for improving the District’s public schools by dismantling the chronically ineffectual Board of Education. He authored legislation to create income tax parity with surrounding jurisdictions, minimize property tax burdens, promote home ownership, and increase police deployment. And he has worked to expand opportunities for District residents to gain enhanced career skills and practical training experience.
In 2009, Catania became the architect and driving force behind the fight to secure equal marriage rights for all District residents, including gays and lesbians. According to the Washington Post , Catania was faced with the daunting task of “convincing not only his council colleagues and Democrats in Congress but also skeptics in the gay community that this was the year to act on same-sex marriage.”
On March 3, 2010, marriage equality became a reality in the District, continuing the city’s long tradition as leader on issues of equality and human rights. The victory also cemented Catania’s reputation as a savvy leader capable of navigating a difficult political process, as well as an important figure in the national marriage equality movement.
From 1999 to 2004, Catania served on the Board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). At WMATA he used his well-known attention to detail to discover that the District was overpaying its yearly contribution to the interstate compact. Catania was the first District leader to call for investing these excess funds in streetcar technology. Years later, his vision for seeing streetcars return to the District is on the verge of reality.
In the last three years alone, Catania has been honored by the D.C. Appleseed Center, National Congress of Black Women (Shirley Chisholm “Trailblazer” Award), Planned Parenthood (Emily Bradley Award), D.C. Action for Children (Dr. Shirley Grant Award), American Lung Association (Life and Breath Award), National Kidney Foundation, C-Change (Excellence in Cancer Control), Cancer Action Network (“We Can Be Smokefree” Award), Legal Times Magazine (Legal Times’ “Visionary and Champion” Award), and the Rainbow History Project (Community Pioneer Award).
Councilmember Catania is a double graduate of Georgetown University (GU), where he earned a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service in 1990 and a J.D. from the GU Law Center in 1993.
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