DC-area leaders congratulate Biden, express hope for change

Leaders from across the D.C. region congratulated Joe Biden on becoming the 46th president of the U.S. on Wednesday, with many expressing their hope that his election will mark a new chapter in America’s divisive politics.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who talked to Biden as he walked down Pennsylvania Avenue during the inaugural celebrations, said she feels hopeful.

“We are hopeful that we can get a life-saving vaccine to every American who still needs one. Hopeful that we can get much-needed assistance to the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy but struggling to make it to the other side of this pandemic,” Bowser said in a statement.

“We are hopeful that we can answer the call of heroes like Congressman John Lewis and redeem the soul of America by seeking justice and equal opportunity for all and replacing extremist beliefs with compassion and empathy,” she added.

Last but not least, Bowser said she’s hopeful that D.C. will finally become the 51st state.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted that, “Through the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, we show the world that the Constitution, the rule of law, and the will of the people ultimately prevail in the United States of America.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wrote in a letter to the new president that he has “full and complete trust” that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris can lead the country through a litany of crises, from the coronavirus pandemic, to racial inequality, to “ongoing threats of violence from those who seek to divide us.”

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy pointed out that Harris has “made history as the first woman vice president, Black vice president and first Asian-American vice president. As they both enter the people’s White House, my office stands ready to work with the administration to rethread the fabric and heal the soul of America,” she said in a statement.

Students at Howard University, Harris’ alma mater, also spoke of her inspiring, history-making rise.

“Madam Vice President, you have proven that we as Black women no longer have to wait in line for the right moment to be the change we want to see in this nation,” said Jordyn Allen, a Howard student who is the chairwoman of the student association’s senate. “We are qualified. We are here. And because of you, Madam Vice President, we are all speaking.”

Local legislators also extended their congratulations. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said he is ready to work with the administration on challenges “from the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, to rooting out systemic racism and inequality, to addressing the pressing threats of the climate crisis.”

His counterpart in the Senate, Ben Cardin, D-Md., issued a statement saying that, “After the insurrection at the Capitol just two weeks ago and the ugly vitriol that has dominated the last four years, our nation is ready again to embrace opportunity, optimism and the truth.”

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia tweeted that, “Today we build back better and heal our country. Today is @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris‘ moment.”

That message echoed the congratulatory tweet that former President Barack Obama sent to Biden, telling him: “It is your time.”

While there was a flurry of hopeful words and solemn messages, there was also some much-needed humor on social media, where the Twitterati couldn’t resist poking fun at the photo of Bowser bumping fists with Biden.

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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