Norton’s January 6th Vigil Remarks Focused on D.C. Statehood

Jan 7, 2022
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a January 6th vigil, where participants were invited to speak on any of four pending voting rights bills, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) used the occasion to call for recommitting the nation to making the District of Columbia the 51st state.

Norton’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow.

 

Remarks of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

January 6th Vigil

 

One year ago today, we witnessed an outrageous assault on our U.S. Capitol as Congress was meeting to count the electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election.  The attack was not only an attack on democracy; it was also an attack on the District of Columbia.  The D.C. police department, which is paid for by D.C. residents, who are denied voting representation in the House and Senate and full self-government, moved voluntarily to save the lives of members of Congress and congressional staff, the Capitol and democracy itself.  Yet House Republicans thanked D.C. by voting against the D.C. statehood bill only a few months after the attack. 

The Capitol attack focused the world on the lack of local autonomy for the residents of the capital of the United States.  The president controls the D.C. National Guard, but the governors of the states and territories control their National Guards.  During the January 6th attack, the former president delayed sending the D.C. National Guard to the Capitol for hours, likely costing lives.  Only statehood would give D.C. the full and equal control of its local affairs that January 6th shows it needs and deserves.

 We have made historic progress on the D.C. statehood bill in the last few years.  Last April, the House passed the D.C. statehood bill for the second year in a row.  In the Senate, there are a record 45 cosponsors of the bill, with our extraordinary Senate sponsor of the bill, Tom Carper of Delaware, making 46 supporters, and last year the Senate held the second-ever hearing on our D.C. statehood bill.  Most important of all, 54% of the American public now support statehood for the residents of our nation’s capital.  The momentum is clearly on our side.

As we press for protection of our democracy on this January 6th commemoration, statehood is more important and timely than ever.  D.C. residents pay the highest per capita federal taxes in the country and pay more in total federal taxes than the residents of 21 states.  Our residents have served and died in every American war since the Revolution, which was fought over taxation without representation.

This first anniversary of the unprecedented attack on our democracy is also an occasion to remember that the nearly 700,000 residents of our nation’s own capital lack the same democratic representation other Americans have long enjoyed by recommitting the nation to making the District of Columbia the 51st state.

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