By day, Councilmember David Grosso works diligently to improve the lives of the citizens of the District of Columbia.
By night, he is a husband, long-time Brookland resident; dog lover, local food supporter, craft beer aficionado, and Grateful Dead fan.
Find out how this former Chief Counsel and Legislative Director for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and now At-Large D.C. Councilmember went from bartender at Colonel Brooks Tavern to big city politician.
1. In a 30 words or less, what does a councilmember do?
As a Councilmember I must write laws, pass an annual budget of over $8 billion, and conduct direct oversight of the work done by the mayor. For example, right now the Council is debating whether or not we should decriminalize marijuana or just legalize it. I introduced a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana like we tax and regulate alcohol and cigarettes. When we pass the tax and regulate a bill, it takes intense oversight to make sure it is implemented in a reasonable manner.
2. The President calls wanting to go on a pub crawl of DC’s best craft beer bars. Where do you take him?
First, I would invite the President to my house, where I have a hand-crafted bar made of bubinga wood that I built with my brother in my basement. At my bar, I’d offer the President a pint of Guinness or D.C. Brau’s Corruption IPA – both of which I keep on tap. After a quick pint at my house I’d recommend to the President that we Uber down to Rhode Island Avenue to two of my favorite bars Boundary Stone (with the best burger in town) and Showtime Lounge (with its excellent jukebox), and get great D.C. crafted beers including D.C. Brau; Chocolate City Beer; Three Stars Brewing; and Atlas Brew Works.
3. What’s your favorite product from the District?
More than admiring a final product, what I really like doing is checking out what D.C. people are thinking about creating – so I spend my time visiting 1776 where the founders (Evan Burfield and Donna Harris) work hard every day to help the hottest startups find the resources they need to excel. I also recently had the opportunity to get to know the founders of Skyline Innovations. I was able to climb up on a rooftop in Dupont Circle to see what their solar arrays look like and get in the guts of the water system, an old idea with new applications.
4. Which DC sports teams do you have your eye on?
My favorite D.C. sports event is Georgetown Hoyas basketball games at the Verizon Center with my wife, Serra Sippel. I graduated from Georgetown Law but have attended games all my life. My father graduated from Georgetown Dental School and he taught there for more than 30 years. We used to go to the Hoyas games when they played out at the Cap Center in Maryland. I also love going to the Caps and Nationals games. I should note that I share season tickets to the Washington Football Club with my brother and love attending those games as well. I am a sports fan.
5. Where are we going from here? What’s the most exciting thing DC has coming up?
The District of Columbia has come a long way in the past 25 years – just compare the 1987 burnt out buildings and abandoned streets at 14th and U Street NW with the same intersection today. Now, draw a line on a map from RFK Stadium to Congressional Cemetery to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and take a snapshot today of everything between that line and the river. In 5 years that area will be 10 times as dynamic as what happened up at 14th and U. The Yards Project, a new stadium for D.C. United, Hill East and the SW Waterfront are transformational projects. The waterfront will be a destination point for living, entertainment and vibrancy in the District. And someday soon I hope we can all lounge by the river on hot summer days — fishing, boating, even swimming.