D.C.

Mayor Vincent Gray: An overview of his first year

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Gray can't take credit for all of that, but it's a rebuttal to the dire predictions by some Fenty supporters that Gray would return the city to the Barry era of bloated, unaccountable government.

Political consultant Chuck Thies, who occasionally advises the mayor, described the Gray administration's early struggles as a "momentary throwback" to old-school crony politics.

"This city continues to move forward. People are moving here," Thies said. "By and large, this is one of the best places to live right now, given the national economy."

Indeed, recent Census figures show the district gained more than 16,000 residents between April 2010 and July 2011, a faster rate of growth than any state over that period.

"Vince Gray may be the most underrated mayor in D.C. history," said Adam Rubinson, who managed Gray's campaign and is not a target of the federal probe. "Unfortunately, the much-publicized missteps of two or three people have obscured that he's moved forward aggressively on school reform, that he put our fiscal house in order ... and crime has gone down significantly on his watch."

Unlike the hard-charging Fenty, who made school reform his top priority, Gray has been criticized for lacking a signature issue or an over-arching view for the city.

A year-in-review document circulated by his staff detailed incremental progress in a variety of areas.

Gray is providing incentives to companies that hire city residents and has secured a new ink-jet manufacturing plant that will bring 300 jobs to the district's poorest ward.

His legislative agenda has been modest - a contrast from his term as council chairman, when the district approved medical marijuana and gay marriage. Perhaps the most significant bill he's introduced is a package of reforms to the taxicab industry.

While the city is required to submit a balanced budget to Congress, Gray is especially proud of balancing the budget without dipping into reserve funds.

The mayor often talks about his four-pronged agenda. When asked his top priority, he listed two goals.

"It's a bit arcane, but I want to be looked at (as) the mayor who brought fiscal stability to the city. That's huge for me," Gray said. "The other thing is being able to get people back to work and creating more economic development equitably across the city."

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