GW students are among thousands expected to witness the inauguration of George W. Bush Saturday. Though temporary residents of D.C., students said they hope to see improvements in the new administration’s relationship with the city.
“I think that Bush should re-instate (Del.) Eleanor Holmes Norton as a voting member of Congress,” sophomore Raj Parveck said. “D.C. is taxed but has no representation in Congress.”
Because the District is not a state, it has no voting representation in Congress. When the Democrats controlled Congress, Norton could vote in committee. Under the Republican-controlled Congress, D.C. does not have a vote in committee.
In 1971 a bipartisan effort lead by Reps. Ronald Dellums (D-Calif.) and Fred Schwengel (R-Iowa) introduced the first of several D.C. statehood bills. The bill was defeated, as well as similar legislation from 1985 to 1993.
“D.C. is a big college city,” Parveck said. “We spend a lot of money and create a lot of tax revenue. (Voting rights) should be a main goal George W. Bush works for.”
Parveck said D.C. taxes would probably be lower if D.C. had better representation in Congress.
Other students explained a feeling of disenfranchisement by pointing to the past.
“I think that voting rights for (D.C.) is an important thing,” freshman Jill O’Conner said. “I think that it is really wrong that the people live in the nation’s capital and can’t even have a vote in Congress. It seems like a situation where there is taxation without representation. We fought a war for that.”
Some students said they are confident in Bush.
“I voted for George W. Bush,” sophomore Lauren Thomas said. “I think that he will have early problems to deal with but he will be a good president.”
Freshman Noel Oakes said Bush’s cabinet appointments look promising.
“So far so good. I am a big fan of Colin Powell,” he said.
Powell, nominated for secretary of state, is one Bush appointment that has won widespread approval. Others named to the cabinet have been met with more apprehension.
“I don’t like John Ashcroft,” said Oakes of the former U.S. senator and governor from Missouri, who was appointed for attorney general. “He is very conservative.”
Other students said they support the president-elect’s cabinet choices.
“Even though Ashcroft is very right-wing Republican, I am sure that he can do a good job and be fair to everyone,” junior Isabella Stock said.
Stock said Bush’s cabinet appointees will face tough questions in their hearings, but will probably be confirmed.
“If they have gotten this far then they will probably get the job,” Stock said.
Students said they would also like to see the new president visit GW more often than his predecessor.
“I would like to see Bush come to speak at GW,” O’Conner said. “I mean he is only four blocks away.”