10 episodes

Join Kojo and resident analyst Tom Sherwood on Fridays at noon for our weekly review of the politics, policies and personalities in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Each week Kojo and Tom help make sense of legislation, hold elected officials accountable and provide in-depth analysis of local issues and elections. The Politics Hour is also a vital forum for Washingtonians to engage directly with their local leaders.

The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi WAMU 88.5

    • News
    • 4.7 • 38 Ratings

Join Kojo and resident analyst Tom Sherwood on Fridays at noon for our weekly review of the politics, policies and personalities in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Each week Kojo and Tom help make sense of legislation, hold elected officials accountable and provide in-depth analysis of local issues and elections. The Politics Hour is also a vital forum for Washingtonians to engage directly with their local leaders.

    Montgomery County avoids tax hikes; Virginia General Assembly reconvenes

    Montgomery County avoids tax hikes; Virginia General Assembly reconvenes

    The Virginia General Assembly reconvened on Wednesday to consider Governor Glenn Youngkin’s 223 budget amendments and a record-setting number of vetoes. A deal was quickly struck between the governor and the legislature to work together on a new state budget, averting a crisis — at least for now.

    Virginia Delegate Marcus Simon, who represents Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County, joined us in the studio to discuss how it all came together.

    He said Youngkin now realizes the limits of his executive power and the need to negotiate with the Democratically-controlled General Assembly.

    “We are a co-equal branch of government. We are not a board of directors where you just tell us what the decision is going to be, we actually participate.”

    One of the biggest points of contention when the General Assembly meets again next month will be Metro funding. Lawmakers want the state to pony up $150 million dollars, while the governor wants most of the funding to come from money previously allocated to Northern Virginia jurisdictions.

    On Thursday, a teen was charged with threatening mass violence at a Montgomery County high school.

    County Executive Marc Elrich joined the show directly from a press conference where the FBI, Montgomery County Police, and the State’s Attorney’s Office detailed what led up to the arrest of eighteen-year-old Alex Ye.

    Officials tracked Ye for months and obtained a copy of a manifesto, where the eighteen-year-old wrote about carrying out mass violence at Wootton High School in Rockville.

    Law enforcement also noted Ye did not have access to firearms. On the show, Elrich praised Maryland’s strong gun safety laws.

    “It’s good to hear that somebody had a hard time getting guns because if he had been able to easily get these guns, who knows how this would have transpired in reality.”

    Elrich also talked about the potential reopening of White’s Ferry.

    The County Executive addressed why he’s not proposing to raise taxes, unlike last year, and the current state of Maryland’s expensive U.S. Senate race.

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    • 50 min
    WMATA GM Randy Clarke on how Metro is avoiding drastic cuts… for now

    WMATA GM Randy Clarke on how Metro is avoiding drastic cuts… for now

    This week on The Politics Hour, Metro General Randy Clarke took Kojo, Tom, and listeners on a ride through Metro’s upcoming budget decisions, why he’d like to see a regional tax, and the significance of Metro teaming up with COG.

    Clarke said he’s very happy overall that D.C., Maryland, and Virginia are all stepping up with additional funding for Metro. Because of that, Metro will be able to avoid some of the more drastic service cuts first proposed in December.

    He isn’t surprised by the continued debate in Virginia about how much money the state will provide instead of local jurisdictions. However, Clarke said this conversation is more about “how the bill is paid” than whether Metro will be adequately funded.

    Earlier in the week, Metro and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) announced a partnership aimed at addressing some of the region’s transportation issues.

    The region has multiple locally run transportation systems, including Alexandria’s DASH bus and the Ride On in Montgomery County, all with different fares and systems. One of the main goals of the partnership, he said, is to simplify this.

    “Only people in government care about jurisdictions. Everyone else lives their life, right,” Clarke said. “They might live in Montgomery County or take their kids to a soccer game in Alexandria or live in Fairfax and they work in Downtown D.C. We’ve got to figure out how people can move without worrying about different signs or fare payments and all the other stuff. Make it easy for people.”

    Jahd Khalil from Virginia Public Media also joined the show to explain how Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s reworked budget no longer has any tax cuts or a sales tax hike.

    Khalil said it definitely appears like Youngkin is attempting to work with the Democratically-controlled General Assembly, but recent actions may still make that difficult.

    The Virginia General Assembly will reconvene next week to consider the governor’s reworked budget. Khalil said the legislature could reject the proposal and, if that does happen, “it’s definitely a possibility” Youngkin could veto the entire budget. That would be nearly unprecedented.

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    • 50 min
    ‘Tis budget season: Big cuts in D.C. and school spending in Montgomery County

    ‘Tis budget season: Big cuts in D.C. and school spending in Montgomery County

    It’s budget season on The Politics Hour.

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released her budget proposal on Wednesday calling for some tax increases and hefty cuts, including to the Early Childhood Pay Equity Fund. The cuts were met with pushback from some councilmembers, including Christina Henderson who made an emotional plea to save the fund. She explains why she disagrees with some elements of the Mayor’s proposed budget. Plus, what’s Councilmember Henderson’s take on the District committing $515 million to renovate Capital One Arena?

    Last month, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich unveiled his budget proposal featuring no new taxes and increased spending on schools.  Montgomery County Council Vice Chair Kate Stewart gives her take. Plus, she’ll explain why houses of worship can now build affordable housing and how an agreement on a new state budget impacts Montgomery County.

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    • 49 min
    A D.C. comeback: Why the Washington Wizards and Capitals are staying in the District

    A D.C. comeback: Why the Washington Wizards and Capitals are staying in the District

    It's game over for the Alexandria arena with the Washington Wizards and Capitals now poised to stay in the District.

    On Wednesday, D.C. councilmembers, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Monumental Sports owner Ted Leonsis announced a deal to keep the sports teams at Capital One Arena in D.C. until 2050. It came weeks after a proposal to move the teams to a new arena in Alexandria fell apart in the Virginia General Assembly and only hours after the City of Alexandria said it ended negotiations with Monumental Sports to build an arena and entertainment complex in Potomac Yard.

    On this week’s Politics Hour, we brought together several of the major players involved in this region-defining reversal.

    Alexandria City Councilmember John Chapman said that the city’s decision to end the project was largely based on the disapproval they heard from residents.

    “A good number of people were not happy with the proposal,” he said. “The biggest concern for everyone was traffic and what transportation would look like.”

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser explained how D.C. was able to convince the teams to stay. She said she kept meeting with Leonsis, despite the ongoing negotiations he was having with Virginia officials.

    Bowser says she knew it was not a done deal and that’s why there was a hope the decision would be ultimately reversed.

    “We decided not to give up and just let our teams go across the river to what we thought was at best a risky proposition for them,” Bowser said. “It was risky... to get approved. We thought it was risky to get delivered. And we thought it was a huge risk to the Monumental brand if the fans would follow or not.”

    D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson explained that the $500 million being offered to renovate Capital One Arena doesn’t come at the expense of social services.

    “We have two budgets. One is the operating budget and the other is the capital budget. The operating budget is where social service programs are, public safety programs, public education programs so forth. The capital budget is very different.

    Prince George's County Councilmember Krystal Oriadha also spoke with Kojo and Tom about budget troubles, crime, and school absenteeism.

    Oriadha connected increasing rates of crime and truancy, saying many of those committing crimes are young people. Because of that, the Prince George’s County Council is prioritizing keeping kids in classrooms.

    “We started a work group focused on truancy because what we realized is a lot of repeat offenders, when we had a meeting with the State’s Attorney if they pulled their transcript, were truant,” said Oriadha. “We realized we didn’t have an actual mechanism that triggered an early warning system with that young person early enough.”

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    • 50 min
    Maryland's budget dilemma, VA governor's vetoes, and the D.C. AG threatens Monumental Sports

    Maryland's budget dilemma, VA governor's vetoes, and the D.C. AG threatens Monumental Sports

    On Friday’s Politics Hour, resident analyst Tom Sherwood broke news that D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb sent a letter earlier in the week to Monumental Sports saying that Wizards and Capitals are legally bound to the District until 2047.

    In a since publicly-released letter, the District’s Attorney General accused Monumental Sports and owner Ted Leonsis of breaking promises laid out in a lease extension for Capital One Arena when they announced a deal to move to Alexandria in December.

    The teams are legally obligated, according to Schwalb, to remain playing at Capital One Arena until 2047.

    “To be clear, the District very much prefers not to pursue any potential claims against MSE,” Schwalb wrote in the letter. “It remains committed to maintaining and growing its partnership with MSE and to keeping the Wizards and Capitals at the Arena until the end of the existing lease term in 2047, if not beyond.”

    When asked about the letter, Monumental Sports declined to provide any new comments to WAMU.

    Also on the Politics Hour, Virginia Delegate Paul Krizek (D-Fairfax County) criticized Governor Glenn Youngkin for how he’s handled Senate Democrats blocking the deal to build a new arena in Alexandria.

    He also talked about a bill that could bring slots-like gaming machines to convenience stores, laundromats, and restaurants across the state and is hope that legislation that would finally create a retail marijuana market isn’t up in smoke.

    Additionally, Maryland State Senator Will Smith (D-Montgomery County) joined Kojo and Tom to talk about crossover day in his state’s General Assembly.

    He said the biggest challenge for legislators is balancing the state’s budget. The House is proposing a $1.2 billion dollar package that would increase taxes, tolls, and fees. The Senate, instead, wants to pull from the state’s rainy day fund and not raise taxes.

    Become a member of WAMU: wamu.org/donate

    Send us questions and comments for guests: kojo@wamu.org

    Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/wamu885

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    • 50 min
    U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves on D.C. crime and Maryland Governor Wes Moore talks avoiding a tax increase

    U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves on D.C. crime and Maryland Governor Wes Moore talks avoiding a tax increase

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Secure D.C. omnibus bill earlier this week. Now, the question is how it will be implemented. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves is set to have a big role in its rollout and joins the show. Plus, he’ll explain why he advocated for the DNA collection provision. And we ask about newly released data showing the U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting about the same number of suspects as late last year.

    It’s budget season in Maryland and the General Assembly is debating how to cover a growing deficit. Could a tax increase be in store? Maryland Governor Wes Moore talks with Kojo and Tom about the possibility and takes your questions.

    And the Virginia General Assembly wrapped up this past weekend with more than seven hundred bills heading to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk for action. He has until next month to sign, amend, or veto legislation. WAMU’s Northern Virginia reporter Margaret Barthel gets behind the mic to weigh in on what Youngkin could do next.

    Become a member of WAMU: wamu.org/donate

    Send us questions and comments for guests: kojo@wamu.org

    Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/wamu885

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    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

JMS32205 ,

Wonderful show

Tom and Kojo. Two DMV legends walking us through the local political scene. Helloooo everybody.

Margo from Fayetteville NC ,

Best of WAMU

Even though I have moved from Fairfax, VA to Fayetteville, NC, I tune into WAMU every weekday at noon for the Kojo NNamdi show. I noticed that the Politics Hour with Tom Sherwood has been taken off the network and there is no Apple Podcast available. What's going on???

dc nowhere ,

Can Tom Sherwood let the guest finish a sentence??

Can Tom Sherwood let the guest finish a talking??

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