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D.C. Council: Same Look, New Role

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By Patrick Madden

The D.C. Council is meeting for the first time since last week's democratic primary. In some ways, nothing has changed since the council last met.

All the members are back. Same committee assigments, same seats on the dais.

The top issue hasn't disappeared either; the council needs to somehow find millions of dollars to fill a growing budget gap.

But in other ways, everything has changed. Council Chairman Vincent Gray's victory over Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary--means the council will exert much more influence in setting the agenda over the next few months.

Consider some of the bills up for vote at today's legislative session. Two of them would override mayoral vetoes: one bans vote-buying, the other would allow the University of District of Columbia board of trustees to operate with fewer members.

Both were sources of conflict between Gray and Fenty.

Gray is expected to become the city's next mayor because most voters in D.C. are registered Democrats and there are no Republican candidates on the ballot.

At-large member Kwame Brown will fill Gray's spot as council chair.

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