The Washington Business Journal published a front-page feature of Tony Williams last week, highlighting his time as mayor as well as his current role as CEO and Executive Director of the Federal City Council. A small portion of the article is below. The full version can be accessed here.
It all Started with Tony Williams:
The former D.C. mayor looks back at his heyday –
and what he’d do differently, both then and today.
When Tony Williams joined the D.C. government 24 years ago, residents were fleeing the city in droves. These days, District leaders face the opposite problem.
With the city’s population booming, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and her colleagues around the District have been forced to confront how best to guide new development, add more homes and ensure that longtime residents and businesses aren’t priced out of town.
It’s a reality that would have seemed unimaginable when Williams first started as the District’s chief financial officer in 1995. And Williams’ effective economic stewardship in that role, and in two subsequent terms as mayor, played a major part in laying the groundwork for the District’s current boom times. But that surge in growth has also brought with it the sort of problems other cities might not envy quite as much, with questions around displacement and gentrification roiling D.C. politics.
Williams has hardly left the political scene, heading up the Federal City Council for the last seven years to work on policy matters of concern to the city’s business community. But he has largely refrained from many public pronouncements about the District’s future, perhaps not a surprise for a politician who always felt more at home working on budgets than grandstanding at a press conference.
It’s why we were so intent on getting a chance to sit down with Williams to discuss how he views the effects of his efforts to jump-start the city’s economy, and where the District can go from here. His answers below from our conversation this week have been edited for space and clarity.
[For the full article, please visit the Washington Business Journal‘s website here.]