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Washington DC appoints its first ‘Night Mayor’

Shawn Townsend will lead the city’s newly established Office of Nightlife and Culture.


Washington DC’s Mayor, Muriel Bowser, has appointed Shawn Townsend as the city’s Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture.


The new Office was established by the Mayor in October to “promote efficiencies” for Washington’s after-hours economy. It will serve as a central point of contact between DC Government, the nightlife industry and residents.


Mayor Bowser said: “We are excited to welcome Shawn to the Office of Nightlife and Culture where he is going to help us ensure our city’s growth is benefitting more DC residents and local businesses.


“Together, we’re going to work with the community to overcome challenges, create new opportunities for Washingtonians, and spread prosperity across all eight wards.”


Nightlife and the creative economy


The bill to establish the office also introduced a 15-member Commission of Nightlife, which will be comprised of government, private-sector and community representatives. The commission will advise the Mayor, the Director of the Office of Nightlife and Culture and the DC Council on policies that affect nightlife establishments and the creative economy.


The Commission of Nightlife will meet quarterly to review regulations, common complaints, public safety concerns and other relevant issues.


Amsterdam and London are examples of other cities that also have ‘night mayors’.


Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, who originally introduced the bill, commented: “I introduced the bill establishing this office because the District needs an entity in our government that can think strategically about the nightlife industry’s growth and development.


“With Shawn Townsend, Mayor Bowser has found an individual with the experience and perspective necessary to lead the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture in pursuing this important mission. I look forward to working closely with Director Townsend and I congratulate Mayor Bowser on selecting an eminently qualified individual to do this critical work.”


Prior to this role, Townsend served as a Supervisory Investigator at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), where he led a team of six investigators.


Amsterdam and London are examples of other cities that also have ‘night mayors’.


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