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Mendelson Takes Reins As D.C. Council Chairman

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Phil Mendelson will take over for Kwame Brown as acting chairman of the D.C. Council.
Mallory Noe-Payne
Phil Mendelson will take over for Kwame Brown as acting chairman of the D.C. Council.

The D.C. Council returns this week with a new head, in acting Chairman Phil Mendelson, who took over when Kwame Brown resigned this summer.

In his first briefing with the media as interim council chairman, Mendelson said he wants to be known as an "effective" leader. He says he hopes lift up the council's dismal approval rating — which has taken a nosedive in recent months because of a series of scandals that forced two council members to resign and plead guilty to various crimes.

But in terms of reforming ethics at the council, Mendelson said it's going to take more than "grand gestures." He has says passing sweeping ethics reform, which the council did earlier this year in response to the scandals, does not make the council ethical. He says trust must will be built up incrementally.

As for campaign finance reform, he says he expects the council to pass some sort of comprehensive bill.

Mendelson is running in a special election to serve out the term.

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