Over the last two years our group has concentrated our efforts on Capitol Hill predominantly though not exclusively in the Senate. About one third of the Senate is up for re-election which means many members are unlikely to sign-on to bills that have even a modicum of controversy. Thus with limited time and no budget we have decided to narrow our statehood advocacy efforts this summer to a small group of likely yet un-committed allies for statehood. We’ll be targeting Senators who are not up for re-election and whose voting records show that they might be natural allies and potential cosponsors on the statehood bill, S.132, the New Columbia Admission Act (aka DC statehood bill).
In 1993, one of the most effective legislators in the history of the institution and long-time statehood and equal rights champion, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), got 17 colleagues to cosponsor the bill. This Congress, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), already has 16 cosponsors on the statehood bill. While symbolic in nature it is worth our time and effort to add cosponsors to the bill to demonstrate that there is growing support for the bill that will help lay the groundwork for future bills in subsequent Congresses. As much as we’d like for statehood to become a reality this Congress that’s not happening so now is the time to build a strong foundation for future efforts.
Over the course of the summer we hope to have District citizens (YOU!!!) and others to join us in advocating to and pressuring the following Senators so that they cosponsor the statehood bill: Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) (and yes, the natural reaction to seeing that these folks AREN’T cosponsors of the statehood bill should be bewilderment. Senators Leahy, Cantwell, Menendez, and Wyden all have public records in support of statehood so what’s the hold-up now?). Let’s get active and let’s engage them to get them on the bill so next Congress we can focus on others.
We need YOU to make this a reality and here are a few easy ways to make their cosponsorship of the bill a reality:
- Send their staffers an email asking them to cosponsor the statehood bill. Here’s their email addresses: Senate_Summer2014 (takes about 2 minutes per email so just 22 minutes of your life for a good cause)
- Tweet to their twitter accounts (takes about 30 secs and no more than 140 characters)
- Ask friends and family who live in their states to send staff an email expressing their support for statehood (takes about 10-15 minutes to craft a good email to friends and family)
- If you are from one of their states or just feel so compelled write a letter to the editor or Op-Ed to papers in their home states please do so calling on them to take a stand for statehood (takes about 30-45 minutes to craft a good Op-Ed especially since you’ll have to edit it down given word limits)
- If you live near them in the District (we’re talking to you, our love Ward 6 residents), stop them, compliment them on something trivial, and then say “oh by the way, why aren’t you a cosponsor of the DC statehood bill? Don’t you think the people of DC deserve to be treated equally with the people in your state? (takes about 2-3 minutes if they stick around)
If we all focus on these 11 Senators this summer we can get them onto the bill (and to be clear all Senators not on the bill are fair game). The bill is about fairness and equality and these Senators all have stellar records fighting for such causes. We simply need to make sure that they know that this issue is important to us in the District and that it’s important to their constituents back home. This is by no means the only thing we will be doing or should be doing but if we all join together on this one effort it can serve as a model for reaching other Senators in the future. We can do this, so let’s get started.