councilmember • At-Large

Elissa Silverman

Councilmember Elissa Silverman has spent her career making D.C. government more inclusive, transparent, and accessible.

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Elissa Silverman has worked throughout her career to make the District’s government accountable, responsive, and accessible. After nearly two decades as a reporter, budget analyst, and community activist, she is excited to put her experience to work as an at-large member of the D.C. Council.

Elissa began her professional life as a reporter at the Washington City Paper¬†near the end of Marion Barry’s fourth term as mayor and the beginning of Anthony A. Williams’ first. For three years she authored the paper’s “Loose Lips” column on D.C. politics. She later worked for The Washington Post, covering local business, the 2006 mayoral race, and police, fire, and emergency medical services as a reporter on the night shift.

From 2009 to 2014, Elissa worked for the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, analyzing the city’s budget, leading advocacy campaigns, and heading a coalition that opened D.C. Council budget negotiations to the public. She also helped coordinate the campaigns that led to an increase in the D.C. minimum wage and an expansion of paid sick days to restaurant workers. In 2012, she helped lead the efforts of the D.C. Public Trust, the grassroots effort to ban direct corporate contributions and reform the city’s campaign finance system.

Elissa was honored in November 2012 with a Heschel Vision Award from the organization Jews United for Justice. Named after Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, an influential theologian and leader in civil rights and social justice, this award recognizes individuals for their activism and moral intent. Honored along with Elissa was former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Elissa grew up in Baltimore, Md., and is a proud graduate of the city’s public schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from Brown University, where her studies sparked a lifelong interest in urban policy and shaped her thinking on critical issues such as race, poverty, and economic justice.

Her work on these issues — and her frustration that a series of corruption scandals had consumed District government — compelled Elissa to run for the at-large council seat in the April 2013 special election She applied her reform efforts to her own campaign by not accepting corporate contributions and by championing key issues including paid sick days and a living wage. She finished a close second.

The following year Elissa decided once again to seek an at-large council seat, this time in the November 2014 general election as an independent candidate. Elissa won through the hard work of many volunteers and a broad coalition of support including police, firefighters, nurses, teachers, and labor unions; environmental advocacy and women’s rights organizations; and progressive organizations working for equity and social justice in D.C. Once again, her people-powered campaign accepted no corporate contributions and took no PAC money.

Elissa is a Ward 6 resident and owns a home in Capitol Hill near H Street NE. She is a longtime cyclist, a recreational tennis player, and a sometimes cook. She thanks her parents, Jack and Ruth, and her brother, Jonathan (a Ward 3 resident), for their love and support.

Compress biography

  • Term

  • Political Affiliation


  • Time on Council

    2015 - Present

  • Office

    1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 402, NW Washington, DC 20004


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