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Friday, April 19, 2024
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Matt Frumin

Meet Ward 3’s newest councilmember: Matthew Frumin

Frumin hopes to improve housing issues and education system

Motivated by his passion for facilitating strong communities and advocating for Ward 3 residents, Matthew Frumin took office as the new Ward 3 Council member in January 2023.

Winning the Ward 3 seat on the D.C. Council last fall with over three-quarters of the vote, Frumin replaced Mary Cheh, the veteran council member who retired after 16 years in office. 

Frumin said his goals are to remedy what he views as Ward 3’s exclusive housing issues, contribute to expanding green spaces and environmentally friendly transportation and to strengthen D.C.’s education system.

Getting involved in politics at a very early age, Frumin has been a part of the political arena for 20 years. 

“My initial interest in politics generally comes from my mother,” Frumin said. “She was super active in our community on schools and events and was even the leader on all the millage elections to raise money for the schools.” 

From a young age, Frumin said went to the polls in his home state of Michigan alongside his mother, handing out flyers for elections.

“I would come home at the end of the election, and she would make me steak and french fries,” Frumin said. “So that sort of set the hook.”

Frumin’s vested interest in politics set him on a path to law school, and he graduated from the George Washington University Law School in 1988. After that, he worked for the International Human Rights Law Group, then took a turn into local politics after winning a seat on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E in 2008. 

“I just found the local work so gratifying that you could really make a difference for people,” Frumin said. “It was so tangible.” 

As an ANC commissioner, Frumin said the project that bolstered his interest in the district’s educational needs were renovations, such as building the atrium, at Jackson Reed High School. Shortly after, he went on to create a city-wide organization of all the wards’ education councils, to advocate support for bettering all schools in D.C. 

He has continued this advocacy in his ‘Ward 3 for All’ initiative.

Frumin’s ‘Ward 3 for All’ initiative includes policies like funding neighborhood schools, promoting affordable housing and economic opportunities, investing in accessible transit, supporting seniors and celebrating local arts and culture. 

“We want to keep making progress in making sure that Ward 3 feels welcoming to all different kinds of people,” Frumin said. “Some of that process includes creating more affordable housing.”

Ward 3 is one of the wealthiest areas of D.C., with a median household income of $133,750. With 92 percent of the homes in Ward 3 currently occupied, only around 3,000 units are available.  

Encouraging the building of more affordable housing and sending out the message to people that Ward 3 is for all is a good place to start, Frumin said. 

The next priority for Frumin is to strengthen the district’s schools by expanding the buying power of D.C. Public Schools’ budgets, improving teacher retention and expanding funding for Stoddert Elementary. 

“A big thing for me in this budget process is getting Ward 3 schools fully funded, but also schools all across the city,” Frumin said. 

Alongside education and cultivating a more welcoming Ward 3 community, Frumin said he has “also been very active on seniors’ issues and public safety.”

Ward 3 contains the largest population of seniors out of all the wards in D.C. Frumin’s Ward 3 for All initiative plans to reallocate 2023 budget funding to ensure $300,000 for the study and planning process of a senior wellness center that would serve Wards 2 and 3. 

Frumin said that he does his part to contribute to a greener community by biking everywhere and driving as little as possible. He said his wife also got a new e-bike and has been joining in on the eco-friendly mode of transportation. 

Outside of being a politician, Frumin enjoys being an active community member and getting involved off the clock by participating in various committees, such as the Committee on Transportation and Environment and the Committee on Housing, according to his wife, Lena Frumin. 

“He loves going to meetings,” she said. “My friend Judy jokes that he will go to the opening of an envelope, and it's true.” 

She also said that when he is not at work or attending various meetings around the D.C. area, Frumin enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren. 

“He is remarkably uncynical with a good sense of humor,” she said.

This article was edited by Gabe Castro-Root, Jordan Young and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis, Leta Lattin and Stella Guzik.

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