This week the U.S. Senate will have the opportunity to grant D.C. something it desperately needs: a vote in Congress. As evidenced by the license plates D.C., it is time for residents of this capital city to have a true form of representation on a national level. This right to representation has been a fundamental element of America since its founding, and the continued deprivation of American citizens of said right is actually hard to comprehend.
The process, which has been drawn out since the House of Representatives voted on it last spring, may finally bring the issue to the national stage. Not only should D.C. residents be enthusiastic in pursuing proper representation for their city, but people across the country ought to be concerned about the fact that in the year 2007 United States citizens have no say in the most vital political issues in Congress.
GW students, many of whom stay in the District long after graduation, should be especially aware and invested in this debate. As current students and alums establish themselves as true D.C. residents, they should have access to the same rights and representation they would have enjoyed in their home states. The intricacies of federal involvement in every aspect of daily life are extensive – from taxes to education to public safety, and D.C. must continue to demand an opportunity to help define such policies.
As of now, D.C. could more than benefit from a true representative that has the city’s best interest at heart. The violent crime rates continue to rise in our city while the public education system attempts to re-invent itself for the better. Also, D.C.’s notoriously high AIDS rate demands attention (especially in the form of funding) from our national government. Obviously the system responsible for keeping D.C. up to par in these areas is flailing. A specific representative with voting rights can negotiate that D.C. gets a fair share of the resources to aid in solving these problems.
GW could also stand to benefit from a direct representative lobbying for research funding and other initiatives. With the desire for GW to become a premier research institution, a direct link for federal funding could prove advantageous. Any institution hoping to carve a name for itself in cutting-edge fields of research cannot afford not to have a direct link to Congress.
While there are numerous causes for GW students to lend their support and voices to, the call for a true D.C. representative could impact their futures in the District for the better.
This article appeared in the September 17, 2007 issue of the Hatchet.