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Norton Chairs DC Statehood Issue Forum for CBC Conference

**FILE** Eleanor Holmes Norton represents D.C. in the U.S. Congress. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
Norton Chairs DC Statehood Issue Forum for CBC Conference

DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton hosted the “A New Majority for DC Statehood” forum for the 50sth Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference, held September 13th.

In addition to Norton, panelists in the 27-minute issue forum included U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Justin Vail, the special assistant to the President of Democracy and Civic Participation, and Stasha Rhodes, the campaign leader for 51 for 51, an advocacy company with it aim to get a DC statehood bill on the Senate floor without the filibuster as an obstacle.

Norton, who was responsible for passing his own DC statehood bill for the second time in the U.S. House of Representatives in April, chaired the issue forum three months after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held its second hearing on DC state. Senator Thomas Carper (D-Del.) Serves as author and main sponsor of the Senate “The Washington, DC Admission Act of 2021.”

Carper’s bill has 45 co-sponsors, with 44 Democrats and one independent. His bill has no Republican sponsors. A Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin (W.Va.), said he supports the district becoming a state, but only through a constitutional amendment.

Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona and independent Angus King of Maine have not publicly weighed in on DC state legislation. Without a change in Senate filibuster rules, Carper’s bill would need 60 votes for consideration on the floor of the chamber.


Cardin said the district turned 51st The state of the Union “will correct a great mistake.”

“There is no reason to deny the full rights of the 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia,” Cardin said. “Congressman Norton, your friends in Maryland and around the country are with you on this. This is a fundamental denial of human rights. ”

Cardin said he, as chairman of the Helsinki Commission, let it be known that the residents of the district could not fully participate in its national legislature, which was a violation of international human rights. Cardin said his fellow Democrat senators are with the residents of the district, and “we are making progress in the Senate.”


Vail said the Biden-Harris administration strongly supports DC State.

“We urge Congress to send the bill to the president’s desk so he can sign it,” he said. “It is a violation of the very democratic values ​​that we stand for that the district is not a state.”

Vail said Congress has the power to make the city a state and called on the Senate to move quickly so that the orderly transition to statehood could take place.


Rhodes said that while she enthusiastically supports legislation such as the For the People Act of 2021 and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, the DC State Bill should also be embraced by the suffrage movement.

“It should not just be HR 1 or HR 5, but also HR 51,” she said.

Rhodes said 54 percent of Americans in a recent poll favored state districts.

“During our two and a half years working for the state, we have found that the more people knew that DC residents did not have their full rights despite paying federal taxes, the more they supported us. ,” she said. “What we need now is for DC residents to tell their story. We are a city of nurses and librarians, disconnected from the lobbyists and press the city is known for. ”

Photo by James Wright


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