Norton’s D.C. Statehood Press Conference Remarks with National Advocacy Groups
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released her remarks today, as prepared for delivery, announcing that 88 national advocacy groups have endorsed her District of Columbia statehood bill.
“Today, we announce that 88 national organizations have endorsed H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, leading up to the first House hearing on District of Columbia statehood, since I secured a vote on the bill 26 years ago, during my second term as a Member of the House of Representatives. For most of the years since, my party has been in the minority. Now in our first six months in the majority, our D.C. statehood bill is fully ripe for a hearing on July 24th.
“We are incredibly grateful to the organizations we announced today for the national heft they bring to our work to make the District of Columbia the 51st state. We will hear today from four organizations whose support is critical to nationalizing our work on D.C. statehood, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, the Sierra Club, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
“They will speak about why they are working for D.C. statehood and what they intend to do to help pass H.R. 51.
“Until now, almost all the heavy lifting has long been done by our residents and the local organizations they have created to achieve D.C. statehood. They have done extraordinary work through Republican and Democratic congresses and have never ceased working to get us where we are today.
“In the last six months, we have built more momentum for D.C. statehood than at any point in our history. With the help of the organizations we announce today, we believe that victory for D.C. statehood is within our reach.
“The District has always struggled with its unique dual status. This city is the world-famous capital of the United States. That status often overwhelms our other role as home to 700,000 taxpaying residents. Consequentially, we have been left with the frustration of polls that show that most Americans believe that residents of the nation’s capital enjoy the same rights they do.
It is apparently inconceivable to the American people that the Unites States is the only democracy in the world where the residents of their capital are denied by law the same right to vote and be represented in the national legislature as others.
“Now is the time, as we approach a hearing on D.C. statehood on July 24th and a vote by the House of Representatives, that we most need our many national allies. We need them because of their strong track records in passing national legislation. We need them because of their proven success in convincing the Congress to do the right thing. We need them because the American people trust them.
“All of us recognize, of course, that without national backing, it is very difficult to get most bills through Congress.”