Background and family
Mary Cheh is a tenured professor of constitutional law at George Washington University Law School and is an avid bicyclist. She is a long-time resident of Ward 3. She and her husband, New York Times reporter Neil A. Lewis, moved to Washington in the late 1970s. In 1986 they moved from Cleveland Park to their current home in Forest Hills. Mary and Neil’s daughters were born and raised in Washington and both attended Murch Elementary School and Georgetown Day School.
Professor Cheh joined the George Washington University Law School faculty in 1979 after being in private practice in Washington, D.C. and serving as a law clerk to the chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. While on sabbatical leave in 1986, she served as a special assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. In an earlier leave in 1983, she did pro bono work for the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in South Africa. She has also served as a consultant to the National Institute of Justice and the President’s Commission on Organized Crime. She has been a frequent speaker and media commentator on legal affairs.
Cheh was first elected to the Washington, DC City Council in 2006, beating her Republican opponent, Theresa Conroy. Cheh replaced Kathleen Patterson, who unsuccessfully sought to run for Council of the District of Columbia Chair position. She was reelected in 2010 over Republican Candidate Dave Hedgepeth. Despite failing to get an endorsement from The Washington Post, a key endorsement in a DC local election, Cheh was reelected by a substantial margin.
Among Cheh's legislation passed through the Council is the DC Plastic Bag Tax, which requires businesses that sell food or alcohol to charge five cents for each paper or plastic disposable bag. The tax received criticism from some DC residents when it was enacted.
Cheh is the author of the District of Columbia's Wildlife Protection Act of 2010. The Act was assailed by Republicans in neighboring Virginia and Maryland as encouraging pest exterminators to dump the District's rats into their states. She vehemently denied the allegations and insisted that the critics had misinterpreted the Act.
Cheh became the temporary chair of the city council after the resignation of Chairman Kwame Brown on June 6, 2012.
Cheh currently sits on five committees:
- Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (Chair)
- Committee on Aging and Community Affairs
- Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary
- Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs
- Committee on Health
- "The George Washington University Law School [profile]". Martindale.com. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- "Additional Law School Lecturers". Concord Law School of Kaplan University. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Craig, Tim (May 14, 2010). "In D.C., 'Progressive' Isn't What It Used To Be". The Washington Post. p. B1.
- Murray, Sara (January 25, 2010). "In Washington, A Lesson In Bureaucracy Comes In Every Bag". The Wall Street Journal.
- Nakamura, David (February 24, 2011). "Shoppers, Stores Have Few Gripes With D.C.'s Bag Tax". The Washington Post. p. B6.
- "Acting Chair Mary Cheh’s Statement on Future of Council". DC Council. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- Faculty Experts Quoted at website for George Washington University Law School
- Profile of Mary Cheh at website for George Washington University Law School
- Cheh, Mary M. Criminal Procedure 2nd ed. St. Paul, MN : Thomson West, c2005. ix, 285 p. 28 cm. ISBN 0-314-16736-6 (alk. paper)
- Mary Cheh Council Website
- Cheh Campaign Website
- Washington Post Endorsement of Cheh
- Washington Post Primary Election Endorsement of Cheh
|Council of the District of Columbia|
|Ward 3 Member, Council of the District of Columbia
2007 – present