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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton to Introduce Bill to Give D.C. Local Authority Over D.C. National Guard, Next Week

Mar 17, 2017
Press Release

Norton to Speak at Former D.C. National Guard Commanding General Errol Schwartz’s Retirement Ceremony, Sunday

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will speak at the retirement ceremony for Major General Errol Schwartz, Former Commanding General of the District of Columbia National Guard, on Sunday, March 19, 2017, at 3:00 p.m., at the D.C. National Guard Armory Drill Floor (2001 East Capitol St. SE).  Norton also announced that next week she will introduce her bill to give the D.C. home-rule authority over the D.C. National Guard.  The bill, the District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act, would give the D.C. mayor the authority that the chief executive of states and territories have over their Guards.  The mayor would be able to deploy the D.C. National Guard during local emergencies, including natural disasters and civil disturbances unrelated to national or homeland security, after consultation with the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard.  The President of the United States would retain final authority over federal matters.  Currently, the President controls the D.C. National Guard for both national and local purposes.  Norton earlier succeeded in getting authority for the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, rather than only the President, to deploy the Guard in order to avoid the federal bureaucracy necessary to call up the D.C. National Guard.

“As we prepare to honor the career of Major General Errol Schwartz, our long-serving and distinguished Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, I am also introducing my bill to allow D.C.’s mayor to deploy the D.C. National Guard for local emergencies, after consultation with the Commanding General,” Norton said.  “We are also grateful to General Schwartz’s dedication to the District of Columbia’s local communities beyond only his military service, particularly his commitment to the Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe program, which has helped D.C. youth go on to graduate high school and make important contributions to their communities.  Even after his retirement, I am sure General Schwartz will remain as busy as he has always been in local D.C. communities.

“General Schwartz, a Washingtonian and graduate of the University of the District of Columbia, understands our city and always worked well with all our local officials.  His service made clear that the leader of our National Guard and the leader of our city are fully capable of working together to decide the issue of deployment.  My bill would make the D.C. National Guard a more localized force that is able to react quickly to local emergencies, while still keeping the Commanding General in the decision-making process, and preserving the President as the final authority over federal matters.  With the population of a small state, it makes sense for D.C.’s mayor to have the same authority as the state and territorial governors.”

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