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Meet Janeese

I’m a former Assistant Attorney General, born and raised in Ward 4, and I’m committed to delivering for every person in our community.

I grew up on 2nd Street NW in Ward 4's Manor Park, the third generation of Washingtonians in my family. My mom has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 36 years, and if you’ve been to the Brightwood Post Office, she’s still the person who helps you at the desk with a smile. My mom raised me and my two older siblings to know the importance of family, hard work, education, and public service.

Growing up, my local DC public school, Rudolph Elementary, had leaking ceilings, books that were missing pages, and was in the middle of neighborhood violence that made studying seem like a luxury. But my mom worked to give me a better path. My grandmother was a lunch lady at Alice Deal Middle School in Friendship Heights, and together they helped me enroll as a student there.

I remember my first time riding the E2 bus across Military Road to the neighborhood where Deal is located. It was like a different world. It felt so much safer. The books at school had all their pages. There were so many more resources and opportunities. And I couldn’t help but wonder, why can’t schools be like this on our side of the park? This experience gave me a clear understanding of what opportunity is supposed to feel like.

A commitment to justice

Fighting for DC is part of who I am. While in high school, I was elected to serve as a Student Representative on the DC Board of Education as well as Ward 4 Representative on the DC Youth Advisory Council. In 2006, I served as DC’s YMCA Youth Mayor and deepened my commitment to affordable housing, education, and the importance of civic engagement.

I went on to study Government & Politics at St. John's University. After graduating, I completed a year of service with City Year, providing academic, behavioral, and attendance support for seventh graders at Hollenbeck Middle School in one of Los Angeles' most underserved neighborhoods. Once again, I saw first-hand the interconnected effects of economic injustice.

Inspired to fight inequality head on, I came back to DC to attend Howard University School of Law. In 2014, I earned my Juris Doctor and began as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia, working for the city's first African-American District Attorney. 

In 2016, I came home to work for DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine as the Assistant Attorney General in the Juvenile Section of the Public Safety Division. There, I worked to advance juvenile justice reform by utilizing  innovative, evidence-based practices and serving as an ambassador for the office’s “I Belong Here” and Human Trafficking Taskforce.

Running for Council

In 2017 and 2018, several things happened to my family that informed my decision to run for office. First, my father got sick around the same time the DC Council was considering a Paid Family Leave program. I realized how transformative it would be for families like mine, and was frustrated to see Ward 4's councilmember at the time vote against it.

Then, when our landlord put my family's home up for sale, we used our Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) rights to purchase it. Shortly after, Ward 4's councilmember at the time vote to take away TOPA rights and shut this door to opportunity for thousands of families.

The final straw was when the DC Council overturned Initiative 77. DC voters had passed this measure to phase out the unjust tipped minimum wage, and I was furious to see the will of the voters undone. I made the decision then to run for DC Council. In November 2020, I was honored to be elected to as the DC Councilmember for Ward 4.

I'm honored to now represent my family, neighbors, and the community where I grew up. Read more about what I've accomplished during my first term in office ››

I live in Brightwood with my husband Kyle and our dog, Sully.

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