Staff Editorial: Jim Graham was charismatic fighter for Ward 1

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When Jim Graham’s former constituents in Ward 1 look back on his 16 years on the D.C. Council, his insistence on responsive services surely ranks high in their memories. He was known to spend hours most mornings responding personally to emails, offering his distinctive message of “Bests” over his signature.

Jim Graham served as the Ward 1 D.C. Council member for 16 years.

Mr. Graham died last week at age 71. In reflecting on his long history of public service, it would be disappointing to let a pair of ethics-related criticisms late in his career — neither of which related to personal gain — sully our memory of this charismatic fighter. You never wanted to be on the wrong side of Mr. Graham, and his passion and temper alike were focused on the interests of his constituents. We also have great respect for his work directing the Whitman-Walker Health clinic during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s.

“It was no secret that we did not always see eye to eye, but there was no question as to his deep love for the people of Ward 1,” Brianne Nadeau, who defeated Mr. Graham for the Ward 1 seat in 2014, said in a news release. We echo Council member Nadeau’s sentiments.

On Friday, Mr. Graham’s body will lay in state at the John A. Wilson Building from noon to 5 p.m. Viewing and religious services will be held the next day at 10 a.m. and noon, respectively, at All Souls Unitarian Church, 1500 Harvard St. NW.