Setting the Record Straight

IMG_6942[1]A Connecticut resident wrote to Senator Chris Murphy asking him to support D.C. Statehood. Below is the full response which was shared with me followed by my responses to it as there is a lot to unpack and clarify with his letter:

Thank you for contacting me about voting rights and statehood for U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. I appreciate your correspondence and hope that you find this response helpful.

Currently, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are each represented by a single delegate in Congress. While the Constitution did not provide specific guidance on how territories should be represented in Congress, under current congressional rules, these delegates share many of the same privileges that members of the House of Representatives enjoy. These delegates can speak on the House floor, propose bills and amendments, and serve and vote in committees. However, delegates from U.S. territories do not have the right to vote on the House floor, which would violate Article 1 of the Constitution. Additionally, residents of U.S. territories are prevented from voting in Presidential elections, as Article 2 of the Constitution only allows states to appoint electors. Allowing territories to vote in presidential elections would require an amendment to the Constitution.

The District of Columbia also has representation and partial voting rights in Congress. Currently, the District is represented by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who shares the same congressional rights as delegates from U.S. territories. After ratification of the 23rd Amendment in March 1961, District residents may vote in Presidential elections. A number of different proposals have been put forward to change the status of Washington, D.C. Advocates for statehood have suggested making the District the 51st state, with full representation in Congress. D.C. statehood bills have been introduced in 1993, 2007, and 2009, but have failed to pass. Others have suggested that Maryland should absorb the District, as the current territory of the District was ceded to Congress by Maryland in 1790.

Please be assured that I will be sure to keep your concerns in mind if legislation concerning voting rights or statehood for territories or the District of Columbia ever comes before me in the Senate.

Thank you again for contacting me about this matter.  I appreciate hearing from you and assure you that I will always do my best to represent the views of my constituents in the Senate. In the future, please do not hesitate to call me in my Connecticut office at (860) 549-8463 or in my Washington office at (202) 224-4041.

           Every Best Wish,

           Christopher S. Murphy

           United States Senator

Let’s now clear a few things up:

  1. This letter does not accurately portray the Senator’s position. At a DC Moms Demand Action event in 2017, that my wife and a room full of other people were at Senator Murphy openly expressed his support for D.C. Statehood. All this letter should have said was: “I do support equal voting rights for the 700,000 people of DC and their right to have autonomy over their local affairs thus I support D.C. Statehood. Thank you for contacting my office!”
  2. Saying we have “partial voting rights” is both technically accurate and should enrage all who love democracy. Why should any Americans have “partial voting rights?” Our situation is totally unacceptable and he should be calling it what it is, an undemocratic injustice.
  3. It’s true that “advocates have suggested making the District the 51st state” but more importantly the people of DC voted overwhelmingly for statehood in 2016. At the ballot box we overwhelmingly advocated for D.C. statehood with 86% of people voting in favor of it. The people of DC have sent a crystal clear signal to the country and Congress that we want to be the 51st state. Senator Murphy shouldn’t just chalk this issue up to “advocates” because everyday voters expressed their free will on what they think our democratic destiny should be: statehood.
  4. He says that “D.C. statehood bills have been introduced in Congress in 1993, 2007, and 2009 but have failed to pass.” This is true about the 1993 bill but not true about 2007 & 2009 as those bills would have perpetuated partial representation by granting DC a full member of the House and Utah an additional member of the House. Those bills would have done NOTHING to grant the people of DC Senators nor autonomy over our own affairs. In 2012, Senator Joe Liebermann (I-CT) introduced the first D.C. statehood bill in the U.S. Senate in 18 years before he retired. In 2013, Senator Tom Carper took over as the lead sponsor of the statehood bill and even held the first ever Senate Hearing on D.C. Statehood. The statehood bill, S. 1278, currently has a record 28 Senate cosponsors including his Connecticut colleague, Senator Richard Blumenthal. The current House statehood bill, HR 1291, has a record 165 cosponsors including ALL of Connecticut’s Representatives.
  5. The bills in 2007 & 2009 should also be known to Senator Murphy because they died after Republicans added an amendment pushed by the NRA that would gut all of DC’s local gun laws. The people of DC rose up and said our right to have one vote in the House was not worth revoking our gun laws. Senator Murphy, who is the leader of sensible gun law reform in the Senate, should be acutely aware that the U.S. Senate put guns over the right for people to have even a little bit more ‘partial representation.” This is why we want statehood because it is the only way to permanently grant us equal representation in Congress as well as autonomy over our own affairs.
  6. Why in the hell is he giving any credence to retrocession? Neither the people of DC nor the people of Maryland want that. Please respect our vote for statehood! 
  7. There should be no “if” statement about a statehood bill coming before is a statehood bill before the Senate, it definitely won’t be voted on in committee or on the floor of the Senate so he should consider and cosponsor it just like he has cosponsored hundreds of other bills in Congress this session that will never see the light of day.

 

That’s all I have for now but if you’re equally or even partially angered by this milktoast response please do call (202.224.4041), write, or tweet at Senator Murphy and ask your family and friends to do the same. He should follow through on his words from 2017, and support D.C. Statehood by cosponsoring S. 1278.

 

End Rant.

 

Josh

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Where We Stand: The US Senate

Here’s a map of D.C. Statehood Support in the US Senate. We have a record number of cosponsors this Congress but there remains lots of room for improvement.

DC Statehood Support in US Senate

Please call the offices below and ask that they too cosponsor S. 1278, the Washington, DC Admission Act:

  • Connecticut: Senator Chris Murphy – 202.224.4041
  • New Hampshire: Senator Jean Shaheen – 202.224.2841
  • Illinois: Senator Tammy Duckworth – 202.224.2854
  • Oregon: Senator Ron Wyden – 202.224.5244
  • Virginia: Senator Mark Warner – 202.224.2023
  • Washington: Senator Maria Cantwell – 202.224.3441
  • Rhode Island: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – 202.224.2921
  • Minnesota: Senator Amy Klobuchar – 202.224.3244
  • Minnesota: Senator Tina Smith – 202.224.5641
  • Florida: Senator Bill Nelson – 202.224.5274

Let’s keep filling out this map in the pursuit of equality for the people of DC! Unless a state is RED have your friends and family call their Senators asking them to support #DCStatehood!

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2018 #DCFlagDay Winners

And the winners of the 2018 #DCFlagDay Photo Contest Are:

 

Best Ward- #WARD6 not #The6

 

Best Advocacy- My children & I (before there are calls for a recount to be clear I shamelessly gave this award to me & my children because 1. we deserved it; and 2. no one else submitted a photo directed at a specific Senator or Rep)

 

Best Group- Mayor Bowser’s Team

 

Best Elected Official- Councilmember Brianne Nadeau

 

Best Agency- DOEE

 

Best Business- Urban Forest Perfume Co.

 

Best Non-Profit- DC VOTE

 

Artistic Expression- Claudia Rauch

 

Best Pet- Eva Guenther

 

Best Friend of the 51st State- Congresswoman Norton

 

Best Statehood Shot- Councilmember Charles Allen in #ALLCAPS Glory

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2018 DC Flag Day Photo Contest

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, that’s right, it’s DC Flag Day! Neighbors United for DC Statehood proudly hosts a photo contest celebrating the DC flag and our pride in the District while also raising awareness about our desire to have our star added to the US flag as the 51st state in the union. From now until June 14, residents from around the District are encouraged to take photos with the DC flag to highlight civic pride in who we are and where we live.

On Flag Day, June 14th, the photos will be posted on our website, just as in 201320142015, and 2017. We will ask that you share your photo and our post with all of the photos with others via email, Twitter, Facebook, and other outlets with family, friends, and members of Congress around the country to highlight that we are Americans just like them, with the exception of being denied equal political rights.

Please use #DCFlagDay for all twitter posts!

This isn’t just a fun way to highlight civic pride and to demonstrate our thirst to be equal partners in American democracy; this is a doggone contest to see who can take the best photos and be recognized with a snazzy certificate of recognition for your efforts! Make your photos fun, serious, wacky, or whatever else strikes your fancy, but make them compelling. We are and should be proud of our beloved city-state and need to show the nation who we are. When they know that 700,000+ of their neighbors are disenfranchised, they will be compelled to join our struggle for equality via statehood.

Please join this effort by taking a photo with the DC flag at your home, school, place of employment, special place in your neighborhood, or think outside the box and send us something we’d never expect. Creativity is encouraged over conformity!

Categories

Awards will be given for the following categories (remember, all photos need to incorporate the DC flag!):

  • Best Ward- Given to the Councilmember with the highest volume of individual photo tweets with their Ward’s hashtag (#Ward1, #Ward7, etc. along with the #DCFlagDay hashtag)
  • Best Campaign Team- Yes, it’s a campaign year and we’d love to see the campaign team that brings the DC Love with a great photo or photos
  • Best Advocacy- Given to the photo that focuses on encouraging a specific House or Senate member not yet cosponsoring the statehood bills in Congress to cosponsor the bill.
  • Best Group- Given to the community group with the best group photo with DC Flag
  • Best Elected Official- Given to the elected official (Mayor, AG, CM, ANC, School Board, etc.) with the dopest and most compelling photo
  • Best Agency- Given to the DC Government Agency (Feds, you can try too but my guess is y’all are out) with the best photo
  • Best Business- Given to the business with the best photo promoting the DC Flag and its business
  • Best Non-Profit- Given to the non-profit that has the best photo representing their organization and our beloved city-state
  • Artistic Expression- Given to the person/group with the most artistic photo
  • Best Pet- Given to the pet (owner) with the most cute, quirky, or compelling photo of a non-human living thing
  • Best Friend in a State-Given to the person/group from one of the 50 states with the best photo imploring their Representative/Senators to support DC Statehood or thanking those who already do!
  • Best Statehood Shot-Given to the person/group with the best photo symbolic of the fight for statehood

How to submit photos

Submit as many photos as you’d like. Just make sure they incorporate the DC flag!

You can submit photos in two ways:

  1. Email (before June 14):Send photos to unitedforstatehood@gmail.com by 11:59pm on June 13, and let us know which category/ies you’re competing for so we can post them for you on Twitter and share them on our webpage. Additionally, please share details about the group/people that took the photos (names, etc). The more information the better. By emailing us, you give us permission to post the photo publicly.
  2. Social media (on Flag Day ONLY – June 14th): Post your photo(s) on Twitter with the #DCFlagDay and #DCStatehood hashtags.

Judging and winners

Neighbors United for DC Statehood will judge submissions and the winners will be announced on Monday, June 18th. All winners will receive a unique certificate printed on the finest paper a copy store can provide and that we can afford. In addition to having multiple category winners,  there will be one Grand Prize Winner who will receive the esteemed DC Flag Day trophy.

This contest should be a fun and interactive way to highlight civic pride and let the country know what we want and deserve: Statehood.

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Pathway to Statehood

IMG_5398Today, you can help clear the path to statehood today by calling or emailing the following offices to request that these Senators cosponsor S. 1278, the Washington, DC Admission Act. We won’t be a state this Congress but by building our cosponsor list now we help clear the path for statehood in the years to come. Here’s a script and who to contact:

“I request that the Senator stand up with and for the 700,000+ American citizens living in the District of Columbia who deserve full congressional representation and autonomy over our local affairs. Please ask the Senator to support full voting rights for the people of DC by cosponsoring the D.C. statehood bill. Thank you!” 

 

Name State Phone Staff Lead Email
Bennet, Michael CO 202.224.5852 Allison Morrison allison_morrison@bennet.senate.gov
Blumenthal, Richard CT 202.224.2823 Mary Miller Flowers mary_flowers@blumenthal.senate.gov
Cantwell, Maria WA 202.224.3441 Lara Muldoon lara_muldoon@cantwell.senate.gov
Casey, Robert PA 202.224.6324 Benjamin Schwartz benjamin_schwartz@casey.senate.gov
Duckworth, Tammy IL 202.224.2854 Eric Goode eric_goode@duckworth.senate.gov
Feinstein, Diane CA 202.224.3821 Phillip Brest phillip_brest@judiciary-dem.senate.gov
Heinrich, Martin NM 202.224.5521 Dominic Saavedra dominic_saavedra@heinrich.senate.gov
Hirono, Mazie HI 202.224.6361 Jeremy Horan jeremy_horan@hirono.senate.gov
Jones, Doug AL Cissy Jackson cissy_jackson@jones.senate.gov
King, Angus ME 202.224.5344 Sanjay Kane sanjay_kane@king.senate.gov
Klobuchar, Amy MN 202.224.3244 Anne Knapke anne_knapke@klobuchar.senate.gov
Menendez, Robert NJ Daniel Stapelkamp
daniel_stapelkamp@menendez.senate.gov
Murphy, Chris CT 202.224.4041 Michael Bednarczyk michael_bednarczyk@murphy.senate.gov
Peters, Gary MI 202.224.6221 Zephranie Buetow zephranie_buetow@peters.senate.gov
Reed, Jack RI 202.224.4642 Tom Clees tom_clees@reed.senate.gov
Shaheen, Jean NH 202.224.2841 Andrew Nielsen (Andy) andrew_nielsen@shaheen.senate.gov
Smith, Tina MN 202.224.5641 Nick Wunder nick_wunder@smith.senate.gov
Stabenow, Debbie MI 202.224.4822 Ani Toumajan ani_toumajan@stabenow.senate.gov
Udall, Tom NM 202.224.6621 Leticia Delgado leticia_delgado@tomudall.senate.gov
Whitehouse, Sheldon RI 202.224.2921 Alex Aronson alex_aronson@judiciary-dem.senate.gov
Warner, Mark VA 202.224.2023 Ross Svenson ross_svenson@warner.senate.gov
Wyden, Ron OR 202.224.5244 Thomas Brunet thomas_brunet@wyden.senate.gov

Thank you!

Josh

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