Losing One of the Good Ones

I was disheartened, to say the least, when I learned that my colleague Nick Barron would not be running for reelection to ANC 2F.

Nick stated that his decision is driven by personal reasons that involve an exciting new chapter in his life.  To that, I say “bravo,” and I wish him all the best.

Not only is Nick a class act for announcing far enough in advance of the filing period to find good potential candidates in his Single Member District (which will shift in the next election due to reapportionment), but he’s a class act, period.  It shouldn’t go unnoticed when such a solid commissioner steps aside.

Even though Nick is only in his first term, he immediately distinguished himself on the commission.  He has thrown himself entirely into the issues and energetically represented the views of his constituents.  He has shown a remarkable desire to quickly become conversant in the important issues with which our ANC deals.  And without complaint, he stepped up to assume the important duties of the ANC’s secretary when I became vice-chairman.

It also should be noted that he stands out for his communications with the community; he has far and away been the most prolific user of the ANC’s relatively new social media presences.

Residents often complain, and sometimes rightly so, about the overall role of ANCs in the District of Columbia and the specific actions of some of their commissioners.  Fortunately, ANC 2F is known as one of the most functional and collegial in the city, and it’s rare to hear the kinds of negative sentiments that can be heard in other neighborhoods.  You never want your credibility and effectiveness tainted by a few bad apples.

But ANCs play an important and useful role in the District.  Not to play my violin, but commissioners are unpaid public servants doing an often complex and usually thankless job.  You tend to hear from constituents who are unhappy, and the kudos are fewer and farther in between.  Serving can be close to a full-time job if you let it, and usually on top of a paid full-time job and other commitments.  If nothing else, Nick deserves credit for daring to be what Teddy Roosevelt called “the man in the arena.”

A tip of the hat, and my best wishes to you and Chad, Nick.

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