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Despite Council Rebuke, Barry Remains Popular With Constituents

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Despite the councils action against Barry, the former mayor remains a popular politician in Ward 8. Just hours after all 12 of Barrys colleagues on the council voted to discipline former mayor, the Ward 8 leader found a much more forgiving audience at the Matthews Memorial Baptist Church in Southeast D.C. There to deliver his annual state of the ward address, Barry was strongly defended by the churchs pastor and opening speaker Bishop C. Matthew Hudson.

Some of you all vying for the position. Dont you think you can be the councilman of east of the river and not got in trouble. Let me tell you the position is trouble. Whenever you try and do for the least of them. Whenever you try and do for the poor. You got a fight on your hands, Hudson said.

Later, as Barry sat in a chair facing the audience, Bishop Hudson called on a group of pastors to lay their hands on Barry and anoint him with oil.

Our mayor has a sickness that all of us have -- yours is just not public, Hudson said.

When Barry addressed the packed church, he briefly mentioned the days earlier events at the council.

I have no intention of going anywhere they may take my committee chair they cannot take my dignity, Barry said.

Many of those attending the speech were critical of the councils rebuke of Barry. Longtime Ward 8 resident Clarise Louise Stitt says she still supports Barry.

We need Marion Barry to support us. And look after his ward. And thats why we keep putting him in -- because he looks after us, Stitt said.

Patrick Madden reports...

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