WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Former D.C. mayor Vincent Gray announced Thursday he will run for a seat on the D.C. Council. 

He will enter the Democratic primary for the Ward Seven D.C. Council seat currently held by Councilmember Yvette Alexander.

"When people ask why I am returning to the campaign trail, I tell them, 'Because we have a lot of work to do. If we don't do it, who will? The hope and promise of Ward 7 cannot slip away. Every day I see our accomplishments slowing or stalled. The people we've helped here in Ward 7 and across the District deserve better. If we work together as a community our voices will not be ignored," said Gray.

"I have dedicated my entire career to serving and uplifting District residents; especially those with the greatest needs. Today, too many of our neighbors are living without jobs, the security of a stable home, or the certainty of a warm meal. Our streets feel less safe.  A young generation seeking direction is looking to us to lead. Our work is not finished," Gray added. 

"I have no regrets about endorsing her back then," Gray said, "I thought she had potential and would have grown into the position but obviously there are challenges."  He said the people of Ward 7 are frustrated at their representation and the lack of response from Alexander's office.

"I trust Gray," said David Dotson, "he is knowledgeable and he lives here, just two blocks away from me, and I think that's an asset. I have emailed Councilmember Alexander's office and I never get a response, not even an acknowledgement that they received my email!"

"It doesn't matter if you live here," countered Cheryl Smith, "he never appealed to me as someone who was doing something for the people."



"I am not doing this for retribution absolutely not, there is too much to work to do in this city," said Gray. Councilmember Alexander did not comment about Gray running only to say she is focused on the people of Ward 7.  Ed Potillo who is also running for Ward 7 Council said "after a decade in elected office, Gray struggles to find one significant achievement that has benefitted the people of Ward 7."  

A longtime resident of Ward 7, Carrie L.Thornhill will chair his campaign. Gray's campaign manager will be Chuck Thies. He will also serve as treasurer communications director. Other campaign officials will be announced over the next few days.

 In December, the U.S. Attorney's office decided to end its probe of Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign without bringing charges against the former mayor. Gray has always maintained he knew nothing about the $600,000 "off the books" shadow campaign that was being run on his behalf.

Several former Gray campaign staff members have pleaded guilty to charges for their roles in the shadow campaign. 

The Ward seven Democratic primary will be held in June. Sources say Gray has determined he has a better chance of winning that seat, which he once held, rather than try for a citywide at-large seat on the D.C. Council.

Alexander says she is ready for the primary.

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