councilmember • At-Large

Kenyan R. McDuffie

An experienced attorney, civil rights advocate, and community leader dedicated to improving the lives of District residents.

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An experienced attorney, civil rights advocate, and community leader dedicated to improving the lives of District residents, Kenyan R. McDuffie, was first elected in a 2012 special election to represent Ward 5 on the Council of the District of Columbia. In November 2014, Ward 5 voters overwhelmingly re-elected him to his first full four-year term. Councilmember McDuffie was again re-elected in 2018. In 2022, District residents, in all 8 Wards, elected him to serve as Councilmember At-Large.

On the Council, Councilmember McDuffie has established himself as a skilled legislator and coalition builder, including having been elected by his colleagues to serve as Chairman Pro Tempore since 2013. As a testament to his diligent work and preparation, more often than not the legislation Councilmember McDuffie champions passes the Council unanimously.

As Economic Development Committtee chairman, Councilmember McDuffie works to ensure that the District economy continues to grow and that small and local businesses have a fair chance to take part in the District’s economic growth. In 2020, Councilmember McDuffie led the District’s efforts to provide immediate relief to businesses impacted by COVID-19 and authored emergency legislation which ushered $100m in grants to the businesses and workers hardest hit by the pandemic. Councilmember McDuffie has authored laws intended to make the District of Columbia a more racial equitable, social justice, and economically inclusive city, including the transformational Racial Equity Achieves Results Act (REACH Act).

As Judiciary Committee chairman, Councilmember McDuffie authored sweeping updates to the District’s criminal justice laws. Councilmember McDuffie also authored the landmark Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act (NEAR Act), which established an innovative, data-driven public health approach to violence prevention. He successfully passed comprehensive juvenile justice reform that ended the use of solitary confinement, life sentences, and indiscriminate shackling of juveniles in court. Councilmember McDuffie oversaw the creation of the police body-worn camera program, championed “Ban the Box” legislation that bans the use of discriminatory criminal background checks in employment and housing, and  passed legislation to end the unfair use of credit history in hiring.

Councilmember McDuffie began his career in public service working for the District’s Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, shortly after graduating summa cum laude from Howard University. He went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law, where he served as an editor of the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class.

Prior to joining the Council, Councilmember McDuffie worked extensively in the legal and public safety fields, serving as a law clerk for an Associate Judge on the Maryland Circuit Court, as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Prince George’s County, and as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Councilmember McDuffie also served as a policy advisor to the District’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.

Councilmember McDuffie and his wife, Princess, live in his childhood home in Ward 5 with their two daughters, Kesi and Jozi.

Compress biography

  • Term

  • Political Affiliation


  • Time on Council

    2012 to Present

  • Office

    1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 506, Washington, DC 20004


Derron Parks
(202) 724-7772

Kelley Cislo
(202) 724-8081

Jonathan McNair

Asantewa Foster
(202) 705-7024

Doni Crawford
(202) 674-6928

Daniel Sagrera

Jose Sousa
(202) 724-7772

Ashley Dawkins