About Mary

Mary ChehCouncilmember Cheh has served on the Council of the District of Columbia since 2007 and is currently the Chair of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment. An attorney and constitutional law professor, Cheh has championed legislation to protect the environment, improve the health of District residents, and fight for good government. She previously chaired the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs (2007-2008) and the Committee on Government Operations (2008-2010).

While education reform was underway in Washington, Councilmember Cheh introduced the Healthy Schools Act of 2010, the first bill to address the childhood obesity epidemic in the District of Columbia.

The Healthy Schools Act substantially improved the health, wellness, and nutrition of public and charter school students in Washington, D.C. by developing standards on the quality of food served and increasing the amount of physical activity in which students are required to engage. Since then, it has become a national model for setting nutrition standards in schools and the workplace.

Over the last six years, Councilmember Cheh has introduced over 400 separate bills, and led five major Council investigations, including ones on Executive personnel practices and electronic voting in the District. Among her outstanding legislative accomplishments are the Taxicab Service Improvement Amendment Act of 2012, which overhauls and modernizes D.C.’s taxicab fleet; the Food Environmental and Economic Development (FEED DC) Act of 2012, which increases the availability of healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods; the Omnibus Election Reform Act of 2009, which created early voting and same-day voter registration in the District; the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008, which created programs and entities to encourage the growth of clean energy and reduce the cost of energy in D.C. overall; and the Payday Loan Consumer Protection Act of 2007, which banned predatory payday loan services in the District of Columbia.

Councilmember Cheh is a tenured constitutional law and criminal procedure professor at the George Washington University Law School and a member and former chair of the George Washington Law Public Interest Committee. She is the Elyce Zenoff Research Professor of Law, and is the recipient of numerous teaching and service awards at the University. Councilmember Cheh has served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, worked pro bono for the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in South Africa, served as a consultant to the National Institute of Justice and the President’s Commission on Organized Crime, chaired the subcommittee on criminal justice for the D.C. Circuit Court’s Task Force on Gender, and serves as a member of the Rules Committee of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and on the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Military Justice. She is a member of the ACLU Litigation Screening Committee.

Councilmember Cheh is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Douglass College, and received her law degrees from Rutgers and Harvard Universities. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and before the federal courts. She has lived in D.C.’s Ward 3 for over 30 years, where she raised her two daughters, Jane and Nora, who are both attorneys.


Councilmember Cheh serves on the following committees:

  • Committee on Transportation and the Environment (Chair)
  • Committee of the Whole
  • Committee on the Judiciary
  • Committee on Health and Human Services

Follow Uson Twitter

Mary M. Cheh @marycheh 16 Feb Heads up in #Ward3 https://t.co/waJfeuV8Sp
Mary M. Cheh @marycheh 16 Feb The statute is very clear: our employees have to be free to report fraud, waste of government resources, and, most… https://t.co/tWgPpOuUdE