Why Not Statehood for D.C. Citizens?
Seattle Times, May 11th, 1987
The path is strewn with all sorts of political and legal obstacles, but the District of Columbia is pressing ahead on a campaign that could give it full statehood–a 51st state to be called New Columbia.
And why not? Despite its place as the seat of national power, the district long has been a governmental orphan whose residents have second-class political status. It elects a mayor and City Council, but local decisions are liable to congressional veto. Residents can vote in presidential elections, but their representation in Congress is limited to a single nonvoting delegate.
In 1978 Congress proposed a constitutional amendment to give D.C. full voting representation–two senators and at least one representative–but only 16 of a required 38 states had approved it before the ratification period ran out three years ago.
Now advocates of full statehood are saying there’s no need to pursue the tortuous constitutional-amendment process. Congress, they say, could establish New Columbia simply by enacting a law, and a bill to do that is working its way through the House.
Citing various legal authorities, opponents disagree and promise a court battle if Congress approves the statehood measure.
The Reagan administration also is resisting the statehood proposal, partly because of expectations that the members of Congress elected from New Columbia would be liberal Democrats.
Still, the case for statehood remains strong, if only as a matter of simple fairness. The district’s population at last count stood at some 637,000–far more than in Alaska, Delaware, Vermont or Wyoming.
This newspaper article was obtained from the Congressional Record in the Library of Congress related to H.R. 51, The New Columbia Admission Act of 1993. The article is not in the public domain but is being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.