Earlier today the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 248 against and 79 in support of DC Statehood. This should be seen and felt as a huge kick in the gut to those who think we should go state by state getting state houses to vote in favor of DC Statehood. This tactic in the Statehood movement is championed by a certain Council member who while well-intentioned demonstrated that he is simply addicted to gambling. Forget an ill-fated attempt to seek the i-gambling bill into the DC budget (which the Council repealed earlier this week) this tactic in the Statehood movement is to me, even more dangerous because it jeopardizes our movement for full democratic rights and privileges.
While I do understand the theory that if all of the state houses end up supporting these pro-DC Statehood resolutions then it will bring national attention to the issue while also providing pressure on Congress to act. There are two HUGE drawbacks to this: First, we don’t need one single statehouse to support Statehood in order for it to happen. We only need simple majorities in the House and Senate plus the President’s signature to become a state. So in some ways this whole process is a drain on time, resources, and energy which could be better spent organizing and educating District citizens or lobbying members of Congress one on one; the Second drawback is the whole issue of “what now with New Hampshire?” Their House of Representatives just demolished the bill by a huge majority. Can we now go to the members of the New Hampshire Congressional delegation as say “well, 79 people voted for it in your House of Representatives.” The resounding loss puts us as DC Statehood advocates, activists, and lobbyists in poor footings when addressing the New Hampshire Congressional delegation. We’d be better of had they never voted on the bill because now members of Congress can say “look at the vote in the statehouse, there just isn’t the support in New Hampshire for this.”
I hope the leaders of this movement take time to rethink their strategy. Were this a Constitutional Amendment issue then sure going state to state makes a lot of sense because we would need their consent. The gambling addiction needs to stop as this current process seems to have too many drawbacks and not enough benefits since we simply don’t have the movement needed to bombard multiple statehouses with emails, phone calls, and lobbying days. Our resources our limited, our will is strong, and our numbers are growing but we need to concentrate on getting District citizens fired up and ready for Statehood before we worry about the 50 states.
The Statehood Movement starts locally, come join us. To find out more email us at firstname.lastname@example.org