Brooke Pinto (LAW ’17) joined the race for a competitive Washington, D.C. Council seat last Thursday, becoming the eighth candidate to enter the upcoming Democratic primary and special election.
The D.C. Council seat for Ward 2, which represents the Georgetown neighborhood, has been vacant since January, after former councilmember Jack Evans resigned amid ethics violations. Evans himself is seeking to regain his seat as one of the eight Democratic primary candidates in the crowded field. Ward 2, which also encompasses Dupont Circle and downtown D.C., is among the District’s most affluent wards.
Pinto has worked in the office of D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) for the past two years as the assistant attorney general for policy and legislative affairs. Previously, she served as a tax attorney for Racine.
Working for Racine, Pinto has helped push through legislation to address hate crimes, data protection and deceptive charity practices, according to The Washington Post. These experiences working with advocacy groups to pass policy inspired her run for the council, according to Pinto.
“I was really impressed and inspired by a lot of the advocacy going on at a ground level by the various groups around our city and felt that sometimes they lacked an ally to make sure that their issues were taking across the finish line,” Pinto said in an interview with The Hoya.
Pinto marks the eighth candidate to join the June 2 primary race and the ninth to enter the June 16 special election for the Ward 2 seat. In a crowded field, Pinto hopes to stand out as the candidate who can most effectively represent Ward 2 from the moment she is elected.
“By the time of the election in June, the seat will have been vacant for six months. Ward 2 residents right now don’t have a representative in the D.C. Council, and we need someone to get in there right away who knows how to do this job,” Pinto said.
Before his resignation, Evans had represented Ward 2 since 1991, making him the longest-standing member in D.C. Council history. After gaining notoriety for accruing 11 ethical violations stemming from his legal and consulting work outside of the council, the politician may have lost some of his longtime voters. Some of Evans’ critics fear, however, that Pinto joining the race will further split the opposition vote, potentially allowing Evans to win back his former, according to The Washington Post.
Critics should not frame the race as Evans versus everyone else because former Evans’ voters may switch their vote in favor of a new alternative, according to Pinto.
“I think that voters who have traditionally supported Evans in this seat are excited to have a fresh new face, not only someone with new ideas, but someone who has practical business education and the relevant professional experience,” Pinto said. “The number one thing overall is to make sure that Ward 2 believes in their leader.”
Vicki Girard, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center who taught Pinto in a seminar on medical-legal partnership, said that Pinto’s work ethic in the classroom demonstrates a passion for law that will make her a strong representative for Ward 2.
“Brooke is a smart, open-minded, fair, organized, professional woman who thinks big yet knows what small steps are needed to get things done,” Girard wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Her well-established commitment to Georgetown Law Center’s motto, ‘law is but the means, justice is the end’ is reflected in her approach to school, work, life and the world.”
Pinto said her experience at GULC helped motivated her to become a lawyer and run for public office and inspired her campaign slogan: “If you don’t like the law, change it!”
“The driving principle that really inspires me in being a lawyer is something that I learned at Georgetown during my first year,” Pinto said. “And that was this notion that the law is valuable; the law can be changed. I used to think prior to law school that the law was this set in stone, archaic, traditional, centuries and centuries-old institution that could not be changed, and something that I was always so inspired by during law school is that if the law doesn’t make sense, you can just change it.”