District Congresswoman encourages students to care about local issues

In an interview with local journalists, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said D.C.-area students should care “a lot” about D.C. politics.

Holmes Norton – who does not get a vote in Congress – said that D.C. college students are residents of the District, and should understand and care about the issues facing the city.

“If you are a student at GW, you spend a lot of time here in the District of Columbia; you live here,” Holmes Norton said.

Holmes Norton said she invites students at GW to register to vote in D.C.

“Even if you don’t vote here, you live in the District of Columbia,” Holmes Norton said. “You have everything in common with everyone else here. Some other residents don’t even spend as much time here as GW students.”

Holmes Norton said students should care about issues having to do with the National Mall, transportation and D.C voting rights.

She highlighted her ability to get stimulus funds to build a 17th Street levy, which is intended to prevent water from flooding the National Mall.

“It’s going to be built within the next year, it should be finished in September, a year from now.”

As a senior member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Holmes Norton was able to get federal funds for the streetcar system that is going to be built in D.C., which will provide additional public transportation to Georgetown.

Holmes Norton is running for reelection this year. She has held the position of D.C.’s non-voting representative in Congress since 1991, and if she wins this year it will be her eleventh term.

“The biggest challenge of this campaign was that I could touch voting rights,” Holmes Norton said, in reference to getting a vote for D.C. in Congress. “And I had guns make it slip away from me.”

The latest legislation proposed to give D.C. a vote would have loosened restrictions on gun possession in D.C. In April, the bill was pulled from being voted on because debate remained on how gun laws in D.C. would change.

Holmes Norton said she negotiated with the National Rifle Association to no avail, but said D.C. has had progress on issues like this over time.

She remained hopeful, saying,

“D.C. has always gotten everything it’s gotten quite incrementally.”

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