On January 2, 2021, 19 newly-elected representatives were sworn in for the five Ward 7 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs). The ceremony, like much of the campaign, took place virtually, with Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray (D) administering the oath of office.
The large incoming class means that many Ward 7 ANCs will meet in January with a majority of their seven seats filled by new commissioners. They come to a difficult job in a difficult time, meeting virtually to help residents confront the all-too-real issues raised and, in many cases, exacerbated by the pandemic, including issues of health, public safety, education and housing.
Commissioners serve two-year terms without pay. Each commissioner represents a Single Member District (SMD) of approximately 2,000 residents. The ANCs’ main role in the District is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government (and Federal agencies) on things that affect their neighborhoods.
Meet your newly elected representative below. Learn more about ANCs by visiting anc.dc.gov.
Stephanie Audain (7D05) is originally from Brooklyn, coming to DC in 2004 to study political science and history at Howard University. After graduation, she began a career in health care, moving to what is now her SMD in 2017.
She currently works in the operations department for the Council on Foundations, an organization that helps nonprofits run effectively. Wanting to ensure her senior neighbors had essential supplies throughout the pandemic, she volunteers with the Wards 7 & 8 Mutual Aid Network and Food and Friends, delivering meals to DC residents.
It was her fellow Mutual Aid volunteers that encouraged Audain to run for ANC. 7D05 had been vacant, and Audain thought it was important to ensure that residents of this community have an opportunity to address the issues and changes that impact them. “Becoming an ANC [Commissioner] was crucial to affording my community opportunities to be heard,” Audain said.
For Audain, public safety and equitable community resources are the two issues requiring the most bandwidth in SMD 7D05. “There definitely are events that occur in our neighborhood that could be thwarted with more presence of, not just police folks, but residents who are looking out for each other and keeping an eye on one another,” she said.
In terms of equitable resources, Audain said that it is problematic that residents generally hear about plans for both commercial and residential development in the ward in the later stages. “It’s really important that our residents have a say in what comes into their space,” she said. “Getting access to food, quality food and having access to another grocery store —those are things that are important just for the livelihood of Ward 7 residents.”
Audain plans to develop a Community Pulse Survey where 7D05 residents can voice their concerns in the new year. It will be an opportunity to highlight improvement areas and neglected issues and for Audain to learn what neighbors require to make their living environment as comfortable and safe as possible.
You can reach Commissioner Audain via email at 7D05@anc.dc.gov.