It’s time once again for “Better Know a Commissioner!”, my blatant rip-off of Stephen Colbert’s old series. With these interviews, I hope to give Petworth residents an opportunity to learn more about the ANC 4C and 4D commissioners who represent you as constituents. The interviews are voluntary, and my hope is to have all the commissioners do one.
This time I’m pleased to introduce Krystal Branton, the Treasurer of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4D and commissioner of Single Member District (SMD) 4D05, bounded by Ingraham Street on the north, Allison on the south, North Capitol on the east and 4th on the west.
Krystal became a Commissioner in last year’s election, and took on the additional role of Treasurer when Lisa Colbert, the previous Treasurer, became the Chair of the commission. Supported by the encouragement of the other 4D commissioners, Krystal accepted the position and has been doing a great job (at least that's my impression from the bleacher seats). The Treasurer facilitates reimbursements, monitors spending, maintains budget, and also reports directly to the Office of the District of Columbia Auditors to ensure compliance. “Serving both roles as Treasurer and Commissioner concurrently definitely keeps me on my toes!” Krystal said.
Every time I see Krystal, she’s always very stylishly dressed, something she prides herself on. “My personal interest in fashion began in junior high school. No particular designer comes to mind, but I simply loved unique ways individuals express themselves through clothing designs. Every Saturday, I would watch fashion segments to find out the latest trends featured around the world. In fact, I briefly entertained the idea of becoming a fashion designer. Presently, I collect vintage jewelry, formal hats and visit pop-up shops held throughout the District.”
Fashion isn’t Krystal’s only passion. She loves collecting vintage jewelry, watching independent films, and attending live concerts. “Later this year I am excited to add pottery to this list,” she said.
Professionally, Krystal serves as the Community Outreach Specialist within the Office of External Affairs for the District of Columbia Office on Aging. Between work, hobbies and the ANC, she’s always multitasking.
“For example, while responding to your interview questions,” she said, “I am also returning my neighbors emails and have already received follow-ups from Commander Manlapaz and Jasmine Benab, Ward 4 MOCR. I’m a results-driven person, so this trait rolls over into my role as Commissioner. Many times while driving through the neighborhood I pinpoint trouble spots and work on those concerns prior to residents reaching out to me.”
A long-time DC resident, Krystal said, “I am familiar with the community as I have lived in 4D05 since the age of nine, and a few of my constituents have known me since I moved here. They were excited to witness me become commissioner, BUT they also have extremely high expectations!”
“People always ask if this is a paid position, and are shocked to hear that it is only voluntary,” she said. “Honestly, the joy that I get from planning events and activities for the community is my form of compensation. Many neighbors have an opportunity to meet one another for the first time as a result of attending community events. It always amazes me to witness individuals that live in close proximity interact for the first time and establish new relationships.”
Krystal is very involved with planning community events. So far this year, she has planned the Youth Summer Skate Jam and the Back-to-School Festival and suggested reintroducing 4D Fun Day. “All the events were extremely successful,” she said. “More ideas are in the works for the upcoming spring and summer months. In fact, I will be sending out emails soon to jumpstart planning.”
I asked Krystal why she decided to run for ANC commissioner. “I have always had an interest in civic engagement and it only seemed natural to run for ANC," she said. "To be able to plan events for the community, help resolve concerns, eliminate challenges, and connect residents to valuable resources that can further enhance their lives is an amazing way to serve.”
As an ANC commissioner, Krystal’s priorities focus on the community:
1. Plan programs and coordinate events for the community that will provide a positive platform for engagement and connections.
2. Empower families, seniors, young adults, and children through the connection of services.
3. Address diverse needs of local business owners in SMD 4D05.
4. Increase the safety of residents and lower negative activity within the neighborhood.
5. Install speed bumps in high traffic areas identified to further ensure the safety of residents.
A rarity for Petworth ANC commissioners, Krystal holds SMD meetings the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm at Barnard Elementary School (430 Decatur Street). If you live in 4D05 and have community issues that you want to address, this is a great opportunity to talk with your commissioner away from the ANC meeting.
“My neighbors are amazing,” Krystal said. “Team work definitely helps to make the dream work. Volunteers ranging in age from 8 years to 75 years of age have extended a helping hand and I am overwhelmed at times at the level of support received. Earlier this year, my Dad even helped to shovel snow and helped to clear steps and walkways of those that needed additional assistance! 4D05 is an amazing neighborhood, and I am tremendously proud to represent my neighbors.”
“I am looking forward to the next 14 months! Recently, I ordered additional business cards with my information and plan to walk through the community and personally provide my direct contact information.”
If you want to contact Krystal about ANC matters, best bet is to use her official ANC email address 4D05@anc.dc.gov, or CommissionerKrystal@gmail.com. You can also send her a text message to her ANC phone (202-285-7202). You can also follow her on Twitter at @ANC4D05 and Instagram at CommissionerKrystal.
ANC 4D Meeting
ANC 4D’s meetings are held every third Tuesday of each month 7pm at Truesdell Education Campus.
Pictures courtesy of Krystal Branton.