D.C. Councilwoman Muriel Bowser is officially running for mayor, launching her campaign Saturday morning in front of her childhood home in North Michigan Park.
Some 100 supporters were at her campaign kickoff as she outlined her platform, which focuses on government reforms, closing the achievement gap in D.C. schools and giving the people a stronger voice in city government.
"People want the same things no matter where they're from [in the city]," she told supporters. "They want a seat at the table and they want a fair chance."
Bowser, who represents Ward 4, is the first council member to officially enter the mayoral race.
Surrounded by her siblings and her parents, Bowser talked about how the work of the district has been sidetracked because of corruption in the city council and within city offices, and vowed to redirect the priorities of elected officials to helping the people they serve.
"Corruption has robbed us of our focus, our momentum, our need to think big and act swiftly," she said. "We've settled into the status quo."
Barbara Tyler, 59, of the District was among the crowd chanting Bowser's name in support. Tyler said she met Bowser when she was working for former mayor Adrian M. Fenty, and said she was not surprised when Bowser threw her hat in the mayoral ring.
"I had a gut feeling before she put it out there," she said. "She's a can-do woman."
Also in attendance was Bowser's personal trainer, 27-year-old Justin Faust, who said he really believes in his client and her vision for the District.
"When she has a goal in mind, she's going to get that goal. Period," he said. "Anything she wants to do, I know she is going to accomplish it."
Though Bowser is the first official candidate for the 2014 mayoral race, current Mayor Vincent Gray is rumored to be considering a second term, and Councilman Tommy Wells of Ward 6 has launched an exploratory committee as he weighs a potential run.
Gray has had campaign problems in the past though, some of which Bowser alluded to in her speech -- federal officials have been investigating whether there was illegal activity happening within Gray's 2010 campaign.
A former Gray campaign aide has admitted to facilitating a $650,000 "shadow campaign," though the mayor has denied any knowledge of such activity.
Bowser told supporters she needed their help to get elected as mayor, and that she would work "harder, longer and smarter," for the people of the district.
"The next selection is pivotal," she said. "I hear your call for change."