He’s not quite the longest-serving Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) in the District –but with 24 years of service behind him, he is one of the hardiest. And last night, former ANC 6D Commissioner Andy Litsky was recognized at a two-hour event.
The event was hosted by the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) at Arena Stage. At the event, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) presented Litsky with a DC Council Honorary Resolution honoring his career and acheivements as ANC Commissioner. The event was attended by residents, in particular friends from Tiber Island and commissioners from ANC 6D.
The event was also attended by SW BID Executive Director Steve Moore, former Ward 6 Councilmember and DOEE Director Tommy Wells and Arena Stage Executive Producer Edgar Dobie.
Each speaker told an “Andy story,” said SWNA President Donna Purchase.
“We weren’t sure if it was a roast or a toast,” SWBID ED Steve Moore joked.
Moore said that Litsky actually named the BID. “We initially wanted to name it SOMA, “South of the Mall,” like NoMA,” Moore rememberred. “Andy’s first reaction was: ‘over my dead body’.”
Litsky is still upright and kicking, Moore noted, and the area’s Business Improvement District is called the SWBID. “13 years later, I’m almost over it,” Moore laughed.
Beginning in 1998 Litsky was elected ANC representative, charged with working to meet the needs of the residents living in Southwest. He would hold that role until stepping down in 2022.
Litsky’s Single Member District (SMD) included the Southwest Waterfront and later, the newest Southwesters who reside at The Wharf including those aboard the 94 vessels moored at the Gangplank Marina.
The size and scope of the area transformed during his 24-year tenure was tremendous – he helped guide a neighborhood with a population that reached 16,000 in 2020, the last year he was elected. That’s about the same size as Williamsburg, VA. The ANC particularly advocated for affordable housing as the area underwent tremendous change.
“All the things that he negotiated were for the benefit of Southwest,” Purchase said, noting that Litsky recruited residents during the planning stages of The Wharf, to ensure their needs were considered. Purchase lives across the street from the new neighborhood.
“I can’t believe that residents asked for all this,” she said. “Now it’s like a little Atlantic City.” Once a small community, Southwest is now a destination drawing people from all over, she said.
When Litsky stepped down at the end of his 2022 term, ANC 6D included The Wharf, Arena Stage and two stadiums. Litsky worked to represent community interests as plans for the stadiums were made, particularly around traffic. The ANC dedicated many days to those interests as Phases I and II of The Wharf were planned and under construction; Litsky was thanked directly at both Grand Opening Ceremonies, in 2017 and 2022. In 2017, Litsky was honored at the Ward 6 Brickies with the Public Service Award.
— Jason Kopp 🌊 (@KoppDC) June 26, 2023
A Lifetime of Service
Born in the Bronx, Litsky came to the District to lead political field operations for the National Cable Television Association, helping to navigate the industry during a period of huge growth. He became involved with District politics through the DC Democrats, serving for years on the State Committee and campaigning for statehood and against the death penalty’s use in the District. He was Associate Executive Director of Public Affairs for the Whitman Walker Clinic for nearly ten years. He was named a Capital Pride Hero in 2005 for his work on behalf of HIV/AIDS education.
Litsky has been actively engaged with aspects Southwest life since moving to the Waterfront in 1977, becoming a constant leader for the community. He’s served on the boards of the Arena Stage Angels, Southwest House and as a founding shareholder of Tiber Island Cooperative Homes. He also served a six-year term on the Executive Council of AARP-DC.
Over the period of Litsky’s tenure as commissioner, ANC 6D would experience incredible change, becoming home to five District agencies and the Federal Department of Transportation. He served six terms as Chairman of ANC-6D, representing the neighborhoods of Southwest, Navy Yard and Buzzard Point.
At the 2017 Brickies, Councilmember Allen said “The size and scope of Andy’s guidance shouldn’t be overlooked – he helps guide a neighborhood that’s grown into its own small city.”
Six years later, in presenting Litsky with the ceremonial resolution, Allen said it was the longest resolution running to four pages, SWNA’s Purchase related. “We could read it, but it would take a half an hour,” Allen joked.
“Mr. Litsky leaves big shoes to be filled but will remain active in community service,” the DC Council Resolution concludes –words that could carry as much a sense of relief, as well as gratitude.
You can read the full resolution here.