TENAC Deeply Saddened, Remembers Jim Graham for His Work in Tenants' Rights, LGBT Rights, and for All Minorities and the Disadvantaged (Click for details)

Jim Graham



            TENAC deeply regrets the loss of former Councilmember Jim Graham, a special friend to tenants all over the District.  Our association with him goes back a long time.  In 1998, TENAC endorsed Jim Graham for the Ward 1 Council seat over another excellent Councilmember, Frank Smith, also a tenant friend.  That was a close call, and Graham attributed his win, in very significant part, to the TENAC endorsement and our all-out effort to elect him.  He was also endorsed by TENAC in every one of his subsequent campaigns.  His last campaign was especially disheartening.  The controversy surrounding Graham leading to his loss in that election, and his unfortunate retirement from D.C. politics, had lots of “pro quo” in it but in our opinion, no “quid.” Thankfully, his successor, Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, has become an important and distinguished advocate for tenants.


TENAC’s strong endorsement of Graham was amply borne out, as he early on became a champion of tenants’ rights.  In 2006, for instance, TENAC worked closely with him on landmark rental housing legislation he introduced, and worked intensely for.  Graham was key in winning this most sweeping rental housing reform in decades - -  a measure which tightened loopholes against landlord circumvention of rent control law, helped prevent real estate interests from further weakening rental housing regulations, and helped defeat a “means test” to determine eligibility for rent control.  Tenants, all across the District, especially the elderly and those on fixed income, were especially helped by the latter measure.  Jim Graham’s legacy lives on as untold thousands of tenants continue to benefit from his tireless efforts on their behalf.


Jim Graham brought a truly distinguished career to the council. He was a brilliant man, whose liberal and progressive commitment to social welfare issues was his trademark and lasting legacy.  His strong support for civil rights, anti-discrimination, public welfare, affordable housing and tenants’ rights improved the lives of every constituent he represented - - and indeed the entire city.  Jim Graham’s hard work improved the lives of African Americans, Latinos, the LGBT community, the homeless and virtually every resident in this city.  These and his many other accomplishments earn him a lasting place in the D.C. Council “Hall of Fame,” and in the annals of progressive history in this nation’s capital.  He was a great friend and we will miss him greatly.


-Jim McGrath