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Former Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham Dies

by Prince Of Petworth June 15, 2017 at 1:25 pm 34 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Adam Fagen

From a press release:

“Today, Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau issued the following statement following the news that former Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham passed away:

“I offer my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Councilmember Graham. It was no secret that we did not always see eye to eye, but there was no question as to his deep love for the people of Ward 1. As a Councilmember he leaves a legacy of fierce advocacy on behalf of District residents. As the director of the Whitman Walker Clinic his tireless work fighting for LGBTQ rights and to end HIV/AIDS was pioneering and touched lives across the District and around the country. In his many years of service, he was dedicated to leaving the world a better place than he found it. He will be missed.”

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Today, Mayor Bowser released the following statement on the passing of former Councilmember Jim Graham:

“Jim Graham embodied DC values. Jim was a fierce champion for Ward 1 and led the way in fighting to preserve and protect affordable housing in booming neighborhoods. He was also a tireless advocate for LBGTQ rights and access to health care. Jim welcomed all neighbors and showed us that DC’s diversity alone does not make us great, but instead our embrace and celebration of our diversity does.

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Councilmember Graham, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Today, as I fight to include more Washingtonians in the District’s prosperity, I do so on the shoulders of leaders like Jim who fought to prove that moving DC forward means leaving no residents behind.”

  • Formerly ParkViewRes

    OH MY GOD, this is so sad! He was relatively young too. :(

  • Rich

    Apparently he’s been ill for quite awhile. he was a character about whom many people had strong opinions both at Whitman Walker and on Council. i wonder what will happen to his strip club.

  • OldinAM

    A shock. RiP Jim Graham

    The Blade has an article:

  • Ward One Resident

    Jim Graham is rolling in his grave that you posted a press release from Brianne to announce his death.

    • Mark

      He deserves better. And it wasn’t even a decent press release. ” It was no secret that we did not always see eye to eye” smh.

      • CH

        Seriously, why does she insist on following Trump’s lead and bringing herself into everything? How petty to bring her disagreements with the man into this announcement. Brianne, you and your perfect little political views don’t always have to be the star.

        My thoughts and prayers to Jim and his loved ones.

        • Thought

          Ward One Resident, Mark, and CH, I agree with you 100%.

    • KenyonDweller

      Her campaign against him was worthy of Karl Rove. I have no respect for her.

    • AsAMother

      I get you, you don’t like her. But this not the time or the place. As the person who succeeded him on City Council, it was entirely appropriate for her to release a statement. And one not acknowledging her contentious relationship with Mr. Graham would have been declared to be pandering and phony by her haters. Not releasing a statement at all would have gotten even more vitriol.

      • ExWalbridgeGuy

        Agreed. This was the appropriate tone and response. She truthfully acknowledged her disagreement with someone who has passed. Sincerity is a form of respect not disrespect. There’s no need to be shaking our heads.

        • Rich

          He was someone of whom a great many people had vastly differing opinions, to put it politely. Give her credit for being tactful. My own experience with him was mixed when he was my Council Member (great constituent service, tho) and the HIV community here will give you widely differing opinions about his track record.

        • JohnH

          A more general thought….but I guess I don’t really get people who tear others apart then when something bad happens to them, they are suddenly sincere – it’s why politicians are not liked. For example, look at our President – after he won, he praised Clinton after months of trashing her. When the Montana Congressman assaulted a reporter, he apologized….but not until after he won. If you’re going to trash someone, then don’t try to make up for it later…just don’t say anything. It comes across so phony.

      • Jack

        You hit the nail on the head. The abridged version of your comment: great political calculation by Brianne! Of course, this statement is simply about her image not actually about the person who passed.

      • saf


  • Mr. Magoo

    In a world in which politicians seem to get blander every day, Jim Graham stood out like the convertible Volkswagen that he drove. While he was certainly not free of controversy in his political career, I always felt that he really loved DC and the diversity of its community. In person I found him friendly, approachable, and a real character. I will miss seeing him “out and about” in DC, but I imagine that heaven will be a livelier place starting tonight.

    • Egad

      Well said. +1000

    • V

      All of this

    • Nancy

      Wonderful. So well said.

    • 9th Street Neighbor

      Here, here. Bravo; well written.

  • KenyonDweller

    He was my council member for 11 years, and he made life in DC tolerable by making sure that city services actually worked.

    • west_egg

      Agreed. He was my council member for six years and his constituent services were top notch. He was an excellent public servant.

  • Nancy

    I’ll always remember him from Whitman-Walker. I signed on as an AIDS volunteer in the late 80s and got to know him a little. He was always kind to me and helpful. He’ll be missed.

    • bruno

      Thank you for volunteering during that time.

  • bruno

    I only learned recently that he was born in Britain. Came here when he was young. Last saw Jim at Wechsler’s Auction House. Now, both gone :^( Sic transit Gloria mundi.

  • Cliff

    ” It was no secret that we did not always see eye to eye” – How tacky.

    I really liked him and he was so helpful on so many issues. He always worked to find common ground, and bring people together. I bumped into him a few months ago and hugged him, and did think he looked sick at the time, but it did not dawn on me. Anyway, he was as friendly as he ever was, and will be missed.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I am very sorry and very sad to hear this. Rest in Peace, Jim. The city whose people you worked so hard to take care of will miss you.

  • KR

    Yeah, he wasn’t perfect, as others have said, but he loved this city and was a really character.

    I had a problem with the DMV years ago that I just couldn’t get resolved after many phone calls and emails. In frustration I wrote to Graham. He got back to me quickly in the form of copying me in an email to the head of the DC DMV asking her to “look into the problem.” It was fixed in 24 hours.

    The issues in a city obviously go far beyond one guy’s hassle with a city agency but I’ve heard many people say he often took that kind of hands-on approach to the problems of his constituents.

    R.I.P. Jim Graham.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Word. I don’t even live in Ward 1, but I used to volunteer at a soup kitchen in Ward 1. The location was also the site for the city’s hypothermia shelters, which are open only during certain months and only on certain nights when the temperature is below freezing or at the discretion of the Mayor’s office. One day we had several dozen people arrive for shelter. The temp was in the mid 30’s but it was pouring rain. If I had to sleep outside I’d take 28 degrees and dry over 34 degrees and soaked 1000 times out of 1000. I called the Shelter Hotline and the person who answered just stated that shelters were not open that night and hung up. Pleading with them was useless. I called Jim Graham. He had a member of his staff make a phone call, and within about an hour our shelter and all of the hypothermia shelters around the city were open.

  • Thought

    Constituent Services. I’m guessing he’s already helping the Big Guy Upstairs with that as well.

    The best way we can serve his memory is working to defeat Nadeau in the next election.


    • bruno

      Are there parking tickets in heaven? :^)

  • ustreetmayor

    The DC Taxi Commission has lost its hero.


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