A New Year’s Resolution for D.C.—Drawing a D.C. Statehood Plan for 2017

Jan 1, 2017

By Eleanor Holmes Norton

The New Year is a good time for collective D.C. resolutions that set new plans and goals for D.C. statehood. There is no more worthy goal than building on the progress we made last year for D.C. statehood—the city’s effort that prepared for statehood by meeting all the prerequisites with a statehood vote and the largest number of cosponsors ever for our D.C. statehood bill.

Although we had a pro-statehood, Democratic president, our 2016 efforts came from officials and residents in the city and the Congress, not from our president. And they came despite a Republican-controlled House and Senate. We need the president as an advocate using his or her bully pulpit, but there is no escaping the work that remains in D.C., in the nation, and in the Congress if statehood is to be achieved. Working with the tools we can control is our best alternative for 2017.

Fortunately, the disappointing 2016 election has little to do with the statehood challenges we still have to meet. Barring a revolutionary change in the makeup of Congress, we still would have faced striving, at minimum, for budget autonomy and setting new records for the number of cosponsors for D.C. statehood, no matter who was president. Both are goals, but neither of these is a plan. Now is the time to spell out new achievable statehood goals for 2017, just as we did for 2016. Reaching a consensus and buy-in on tangible plan for achieving these goals would build on the statehood progress D.C. made in 2016.