One of new D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson’s first goals is to get the scandal-plagued council to "clean up its act."
Mendelson is a veteran, at-large D.C. Council member who in his last two campaigns has won all eight city wards. He was elected council chairman Wednesday, replacing now-felon Kwame Brown, who resigned in disgrace last week. Brown was preceded a few months ago by the felony conviction of Ward 5 Council member Harry Thomas.
“Talking to citizens, the vision that they want to hear about is that city hall is going to clean up its act, there are not going to be these ethical lapses, and that we get the cloud, get past the cloud,” he said on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Politics Hours Friday.
Mendelson wants to get past the raucous council session Wednesday where he won the chairman's job 11-to-1 but only after a heated assault by Council member Vincent Orange to defeat him.
Mendelson -- low key, some say to a fault -- said he'll run in the Nov. 6 special election to fill out Kwame Brown's term.
Mendelson now is in line to succeed Mayor Vincent Gray should the ongoing federal criminal investigation force Gray from office. That would make him the city's first white mayor.
“I hope that does not happen,” he said. “If it becomes apparent that it's going to happen, then I will prepare for that. It's not a position to which I want to rise and hold on to. I would look at that as stepping in to meet a need.”