Gray takes responsibility for 'missteps' early in administration
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says the city is at a crossroads.
At his State of the District address last night, the mayor -- while acknowledging the early missteps of his administration -- pledged to prepare D.C. for what he calls the "new economy." Mayor Gray outlined his vision for the city in the speech at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in downtown D.C.
Gray talked about D.C.'s rapidly changing demographics and growing population, but the focus of the nearly hour-long speech was the economic challenges and opportunities that are ahead.
"The 'new economy' must be less reliant on the federal government and less dependent real estate development that too often in the past was ad hoc and reactive," Gray said.
The mayor said he wants D.C. to "double-down" on high-growth, high-demand industries, such as hospitality and healthcare.
"But we must also invest in growing the jobs of the future, especially in the technology sector," Gray said. "In fact, we want to be the tech destination city of the East Coast, a rival to Silicon Valley for talent and fast growing businesses."
To accomplish that, Gray announced several initiatives. He proposed use $50 million to create a technology campus at the former St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Southeast D.C. He also proposed a task force to help reform the city's business regulations so that it's easier for small businesses to grow and cut through red tape.
"We fell short with a series of missteps early in my administration," says Gray. "I understand why people were disappointed and I take full responsibility for those mistakes."
Gray says the city has enacted stricter ethics laws and is now cracking down on fraud in the District government.