Muriel Elizabeth Bowser (1972- )

Muriel Bowser Official Portrait
Muriel Bowser Official Portrait, 2019
Public Domain Image

Muriel E. Bowser is the 8th Mayor of Washington, D.C. On November 6, 2018, Bowser became the first woman ever re-elected as the Mayor of Washington, D.C. and the first mayor to earn a second term in 16 years. Bowser is the second female mayor of the District of Columbia after Sharon Pratt. Bowser is also the second African American woman to be mayor. Bowser’s current term ends on January 2, 2023. She is one of the seven Black women mayors of America’s 100 largest cities.

Bowser was born August 2, 1972, in Washington and grew up in North Michigan Park in northeast D.C. area. She is the youngest child of Joe Bowser, a D.C. Public Schools facilities manager and community activist and Joan Bowser, a nurse. Bowser has five siblings, one sister and four brothers. She graduated from Elizabeth Seton High School, a private all-girls Catholic high school located in Bladensburg, Maryland and then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from American University. She has received honorary Doctorates from Chatham University and Trinity University.Before being elected to city council, Bowser served on the Washington, D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission from 2004 to 2007. She was elected to the Council in 2007 in a special election called to fill the Ward 4 seat when it was vacated by Adrian Fenty, who was elected Mayor in 2006. She was Fenty’s campaign coordinator for the Ward 4, the northernmost ward in the city.

In 2008, Bowser announced her reelection campaign for the council. She won the election to a full term and was re-elected for a second term in 2012. Bowser represented Ward 4 on the Washington, D.C. Council serving from 2007 to 2015. On March 23, 2013, Bowser announced she would run for Mayor of the District of Columbia in the 2014 election. She won the election and took office on January 2, 2015.

Bowser delivered a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, in which she advocated for D.C. statehood. In 2018 Bowser filed to run for re-election for mayor and won.

On July 23, 2020 Mayor Bowser signed an emergency policing legislation that the D.C. Council had approved in June, amid the protests in D.C. and around the country. Bowser has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump since her mayoral tenure began. At the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Bowser delivered a speech remotely from Black Lives Matter Plaza, a street she and the D.C. City Council had renamed in honor of George Floyd and in recognition of the demonstrations organized by BLM in the city and across the nation.

Bowser, a single mother, has a daughter, Miranda Elizabeth, whom she adopted in 2018. They live in the Colonial Village area of 4th Ward. She is a lifelong Catholic.

On February 24, 2021 Mayor Bowser announced the passing of her only sister and oldest sibling, Mercia Bowser, due to complications related to COVID-19. Mercia had been hospitalized at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center.