This From Our Friends

In an effort to reach every Senate office in the 113th Congress to educate them both on the New Columbia Admission Act and why we want it as citizens we’ve be reaching out to friend and foe alike. To date we’ve met with 43 Senate offices and have a few more meetings scheduled in the coming weeks but earlier today I got the below email from the legislative director from a Senate Democratic office. I’m keeping the staffer and the Senator’s names private but I think the email albeit brief is a bit troubling because of the denial to even meet with us.

First, here’s the email from the staffer:

Joshua,

We will not be meeting with you. We prioritize meetings with constituents. You are welcome to send any materials you wish for us to review. As you should know, the Senator has been supportive of DC voting rights and other DC issues.

Thank you for your passion for this issue and your advocacy. As a DC resident myself, I appreciate your efforts, but also appreciate your respecting that we will not be scheduling a meeting.

And here’s my response to the staffer with names removed for privacy:

Dear YYY,

Attached are documents for your review. As you know, Senator Carper is the lead sponsor on the statehood bill and intends to hold a hearing on the bill this year, according to his staff, thus it is an issue that Senator XXX will have to weigh in on. While I understand the need and desire to prioritize meetings with her/his constituents not meeting with District residents on this issue is disappointing. I wish there weren’t a Committee in the Senate that had oversight over us but there is and Senator XXX sits on it. In many ways, s/he has more authority over our local laws than the mayor and Council but thankfully doesn’t not use her/his position to micromanage the District, yet therein lies a responsibility based on her/his committee assignment. District citizens are the ones, as you know, directly affected by this issue and I think we deserve the right and the opportunity to be heard on the Hill. We’ve waited for too long for the people of the 50 states to speak up for us and it’s time we both speak up for ourselves and be given the opportunity to be heard.

Thankfully, this year we’ve had meetings with 43 Senate offices from across the political
spectrum from Senator Sanders to Senator Paul’s. I appreciate their willing to engage us in the conversation about statehood so that they have an understanding of what District citizens want whether they agree with us or not.

I hope that if Senator Carper does push this bill forward to a hearing that at that time Senator XXX and/or the appropriate staff member would be willing to at listen to why we believe in the statehood bill.

Thank you for getting back to me and I hope that the Senator continues to stand with the
citizens of the District.

Keep well,

Josh Burch
Brookland, DC

While it’s great to have Senators and staff who have supported is in the past we will be facing a large uphill climb if they are unwilling to meet with us on the statehood bill. The only way to change this is to have more District citizens contact Senate offices and increase pressure on them so that they all, friend and foe alike, feel compelled to meet with us. If they won’t hear us out how can we expect them to stand with us and up for us when it counts. The reality is for 212 years Senators and their staff have been allowed by District citizens to ignore us and its time for an organized and active citizenry to put an end to it.

To join our effort to increase pressure on Congress contact us at unitedforstatehood@gmail.com

Josh Burch

Ward 5

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