City leaders to visit New Hampshire to push for D.C. statehood

Michael Brown
D.C. councilmember at-large Michael Brown unveiled a plan in November to take the campaign to grant the District statehood cross-country. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Evan Koslof.

District leaders will testify Friday before New Hampshire’s state legislature as part of a campaign to gain national support for the movement to make D.C. the 51st state.

Following the weather-related postponement of a trip scheduled for two weeks ago, D.C. Council members and Mayor Vincent Gray plan to urge the state’s lawmakers to pass a resolution in support of D.C. statehood.

While they will not travel to every state, they intend to visit Florida, Tennessee, Illinois and other states David Meadows, spokesman for D.C. Council member at-large Michael Brown, said.

“We need to take this cause outside of the District,” he said. “That’s the only way we’ll be successful.”

Brown announced the push for a cross-country campaign in November, with Metrobus advertisements, a new statehood-centric website and literature to mail to state legislatures to garner support.

Taxpayers will foot the transportation bill for the trip, Meadows said, but not any of the additional costs.

Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans said he will not join the New Hampshire trip but supports it because taxation without representation is unfair to D.C. citizens.

“We are reminded almost daily that we remain the only U.S. citizens who pay federal taxes, fight and die in wars, and serve on juries without full congressional representation and full control over local matters,” he said.

Congress passed an amendment to grant D.C. full representation in 1975, but just 16 of the required 38 states ratified the proposal. The District’s delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, has the right to vote on committee cases, but not on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The fight for statehood has also gained a voice on campus in freshman Markus Batchelor, who was born in the District and serves as the national president and co-founder of the D.C. Statehood Student Association.

He said the push for statehood is a call for equality.

“What really makes a lot of young people involved is the sense of inequality,” Batchelor said. “I’m not given equal privileges and equal access to democracy like other citizens.”

Batchelor added that the movement to foster a national campaign for statehood is “sparking a new fire” nationally that could fuel it forward.

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