DemDaily: The Status of the 51st State

December 3, 2020

The outcome of the two US Senate runoffs in Georgia will decide not only control of the US Senate, but, likely, the future of D.C. Statehood.

The battle over control of the nation's capital and the right of its residents to fully participate in their own democracy, has been raging since the District of Columbia was created under the Constitution almost 220 years ago.

In establishing D.C. as the nation's capital, and a federal district under the direct jurisdiction of the United States Congress, the 1801 District of Columbia Organic Act stripped residents of their voting representation in Congress and the right to home rule.

The Status of Statehood
In November of 2016, 86% of DC voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum in favor of statehood, calling for the D.C. Council to petition Congress to admit the District as the 51st State.

DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton: "I will not yield, sir, I WILL NOT YIELD! The people of DC have spent (over 200) years yielding" (CLICK/Worth Watching)

In March of 2019, the new Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives voted to pass H.R.1, the For The People Act, which endorsed full congressional voting rights and self-government for the District.

It was the first of over 150 proposed constitutional amendments endorsing D.C. Statehood over the last 100 years, to pass a chamber of Congress. H.R.1 was blocked in the GOP-controlled Senate.

On June 26, 2020, by a vote of 232 to 180, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.51, The Washington, D.C. Admission Act. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell again refused to bring the legislation to a vote in the Upper Chamber.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are strong voices for D.C. Statehood. If Democrats take control of the US Senate, then D.C. is well-positioned to at last achieve its two-century quest for independence.

"We are starting from the strongest position ever. And we will yield no ground that we have achieved. DC Statehood is now a national cause synonymous with disenfranchisement." 
- DCVote Executive Director Bo Shuff

The national community engagement and advocacy organization that propelled D.C. Statehood into a winnable issue is DC Vote.

DemList, which is published by a proud native of the District of Columbia, invites you to join DC Vote next Tuesday, December 8th, when they honor Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ambassador Susan Rice and Renowned Chef José Andrés for their dedication to the Statehood battle.

What:   DC Vote's annual Champion of Democracy Awards
When:   Tuesday, December 8, 2020 @ 7:00pm ET
Cost:     $20.51 General, $510 Friend, $1,051 Advocate or Patron at $2,510
TuneIn:  Online zoom link will be sent upon registration

Join DC Vote in toasting these Champions of Democracy at their annual Forward to 51 celebration!

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
For the first time ever, a D.C. Statehood bill passed a House of Congress, and it couldn't have happened without the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She saw our momentum, saw our effectiveness and led the effort for H.R.51 to pass the House of Representatives on June 26th, 2020.

Mayor Muriel Bowser
From spearheading the effort to put Statehood on the ballot in 2016 to prime-time inclusion of Statehood during the rollcall of "states," Mayor Muriel Bowser constantly pushes the campaign for Statehood forward and has elevated our disenfranchisement to a national cause.

On President Trump's deployment of US military to "dominate the streets" in D.C. following the tragic death of George Floyd: "Without statehood, Washington was virtually powerless to prevent Mr. Trump from using the capital as a petri dish to intimidate protesters, divide Americans and goad activists into ugly street battles to galvanize elements of his base...Facing down federal forces, my hometown refused to give Mr. Trump any racially charged urban war scenes. So he gave up and ordered troops home. But not before his actions underscored the imperative that Washington must finally attain statehood."
- Ambassador Susan Rice, New York Times Editorial 6/9/20

Ambassador Susan Rice
When the streets of D.C. were overrun by troops called out by the President, many learned for the first time of yet another way that we lack self-rule. At a critical time when a voice with a national following was needed, Ambassador Susan Rice stepped forward and called out this egregious action. She grew up in D.C. and spoke out for her hometown with her opinion piece in The New York Times.

Renowned Chef José Andrés
Chef Andrés has helped people of the United States understand what it means to be a Washingtonian. His work to literally feed the world reflects on our community values. His public support for Statehood, in action and in media appearances, has helped educate folks far andwide on our lack of full democracy.

We look forward to seeing you next Tuesday.
Register: Here and add your voice to the fight!

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Kimberly Scott
Publisher & Native Washingtonian

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