As the United States of America celebrated the anniversary of the founding of our country I hope that Americans, especially our friends in the Senate and the House, took time to reflect upon the fact that the system of taxation without representation which our nation was founded in opposition to is still alive and unwell for the citizens of our nation’s capital. I was born and raised in the District of Columbia and I’m now raising a family here and find it hard to believe that over 200 years after our country’s founding we still have found a way to make me, my family, and our 650,000 neighbors whole and complete American citizens.
Our founders created an imperfect democracy where initially only white male property owners over the age of 21 were allowed to vote. Over time through strength, struggle, and perseverance we’ve expanded the franchise to all those over 18 regardless of race or gender. Yet while we have the right to vote here in the nation’s capital we cannot vote for members of Congress nor do we have the final say over our own local affairs. Congress continues to meddle in our local affairs, manipulate our budget and policies and we have no voting members of Congress able to fight such intrusions.
It’s time to fulfill the promise of America by continuing to make a more perfect union by admitting the residential and commercial portions of the District of Columbia as the 51st state. In early 2013 Senator Carper sponsored S. 132, the New Columbia Admission Act (aka DC statehood bill). While this is the first time the bill was seriously offered since 1993 in the Senate there has been progress made with a growing list of cosponsors and a promise by Senator Carper to hold a hearing on the bill. Despite progress on the bill there still remains a lot of left ahead of us to build support for the bill. Earlier this summer we began to focus our advocacy efforts on a select group of Senators in the hopes that they’ll add their name to the bill as cosponsors and to date none of these Senators have signed on to the bill.
It’s time to redouble our efforts to ensure that Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), 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) step up and put their names on a bill that does nothing more than declare a group of Americans equal to their constituents. On the heels of the anniversary of our country’s founding what could be more appropriate than a group of Senators standing up and speaking out to end taxation without representation? The aforementioned Senators are people of strong convictions and have great equal rights track records, it’s now time for them to stand up for and with the people of the District of Columbia.