Former Georgetown Law student David Grosso (L ’01) launched his campaign for a D.C. Council At-Large seat Saturday, running on a platform of reduced spending and increased attention to the District’s political issues.

“I am running because we need a fresh voice, because I want to revolutionize how the city spends money, demand that real school reform continues, rather than stalls and improve our local economy, because we all know we can’t wait for Congress to do that for us,” Grosso said in a speech to supporters.

In his campaign kick-off speech at Colonel Brooks Tavern near Catholic University, Grosso criticized what he deemed wasteful spending by the District.

“A city that spends over $17,000 per resident per year [like D.C. does] should have sidewalks made of gold and a platinum-rated school system.”

Grosso also pledged to help the poorest of the D.C. community in the role of Council member, citing his experiences with service as prerequisites for taking up their cause.

Before attending college, Grosso took three trips to Honduras to help refugees fleeing El Salvador. He also devoted a year to serving homeless women and children in San Antonio, Texas, while living on ten dollars a week.

Grosso attributes much of his understanding of justice and service to his time at Georgetown Law School, where he studied under Fr. Robert Drinin, S.J., a well-known activist for social justice.

“He was a man of service. He was a man of giving back to the community,” Grosso said.

Drinan, who served in the House of Representatives from 1971-1981 until Pope John Paul II declared that no priest should hold office, taught legal ethics for 26 years at the Georgetown University Law School.

As a Georgetown grad and a D.C. native, Grosso also focused on the issues surrounding the 2010 Campus Plan and the District’s push for greater autonomy from the federal government.

He suggested that Georgetown utilize extra space on D.C. public school campuses, offering a unique partnership for city schools while allowing Georgetown to expand its programs.

“We ought to encourage universities to branch out throughout the city,” he said.

As a Washingtonian, Grosso said that he also supports autonomy for the District from federal authorities, another hot-button issue in local politics.

“Until we’re a state, we’re never going to have the power that we need to really make a difference for our people. We need to get radical, and I am ready to get arrested tomorrow,” he said.

Grosso is kicking off his campaign a year before the 2012 City Council elections.

As an independent candidate, Grosso will forego the primary election process and head straight to the November general election. The laws of the D.C. Council dictate that only three of the five at-large seats can be held by a single party, preventing Grosso from running for the Democratic party, which currently holds three seats until 2014. In order to appear on the ballot, he must garner 3,000 signatures by this May.

Grosso said that ultimately his independent campaign will focus on representing all the citizens of the District.

“D.C. may be the nation’s capital, but it’s our hometown,” he said. “I will fight every day to ensure that the D.C. government represents all D.C. residents, that the rights of every person are respected and that this country’s capital can rise to even greater heights.”

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