Carol Schwartz was an elected official in Washington, D.C spanning four decades. Though a Republican then, where the voter registration was against her 11 to 1, she ran for Mayor, coming close to defeating Marion Barry in 1994—still the closest Mayoral general election in the city’s history. (She has been a registered Independent since 2013.)
Carol has received many awards, including the National Capital Area Leadership Award from the Human Rights Campaign, the Whitney M. Young Award for Community Service from the Greater Washington Urban League, and the Three Decades of Leadership Award from the Metropolitan Washington Area Council of Governments.
Born in Greenville, Mississippi, but raised in Midland, Texas, Carol's family was Jewish—a rarity in that town where there was some prejudice. In West Texas, she worked starting at age eight in the family store that sold clothes to people who toiled in the oil fields. She also helped care for her only sibling, her older brother Johnny who was intellectually disabled.
A graduate of the University of Texas in 1965, Carol visited D.C. that summer and fell in love with the city. Thus, in January of 1966, she left both a job and fiancé in Austin and took off for Washington. She taught special education, married, had children, and was elected to the Board of Education in 1974. There she helped create Banneker Academic High School as well as helped bring about reforms that raised test scores.
Then in 1984, Carol got elected to the Council of the District of Columbia where she served from 1985 until 2009 (with a break in between after her husband’s tragic death), Carol worked diligently to make changes for the better in the city. Some examples include: creating the Department of the Environment, giving relief to overtaxed residents, getting the nation’s strongest tree protection bill passed, and spearheading sick and safe leave for private sector workers—making D.C. the second jurisdiction in the country to do so.
An ethical watchdog, Carol made sure D.C.’s Whistleblower Protection Law was the toughest in the nation. She unearthed and stopped government “sweetheart deals” and personally renegotiated contracts, saving millions, earning her the title of “Best Friend of the D.C. Taxpayer” from the Washington City Paper. Carol has been a 50-year volunteer in D.C., tutoring students in Anacostia, counseling substance abusers, fighting for people with HIV/AIDS and other marginalized groups, providing safe activities for kids, helping to protect animals, and promoting the arts, among other causes. She was the first woman President of the Board of the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Clubs in its 61-year history, and has served on the Boards of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the Humane Rescue Alliance, the Hattie M. Strong Foundation, the Community Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center, and the National Council of the National Museum of the American Indian, to name a few.
Carol has also had several opportunities to contribute in areas involving the federal government, including appointments by two Presidents and a Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. She has also been active in helping people, especially women, both here and abroad, become more involved in their political systems, Carol has done volunteer training for prominent organizations in this regard as well as held fundraisers for groups such as the Women's Campaign Fund.
A mother of three adult children, all D.C. Public School graduates, Carol also has two adorable and exceptional grandchildren, and many precious grandpets.