Norton Sees Good News in Gallup Poll on D.C. Statehood
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released the following statement after Gallup today released its first national poll on statehood for the District of Columbia.
“This poll is very valuable for two reasons. First, it shows that D.C. statehood, for the first time, has become a national issue. Second, it reinforces our view that the majority of Americans are still unaware that D.C. residents do not have equal representation in their own national government. Importantly, the poll did not inform respondents that D.C. residents pay the highest federal taxes per capita in the nation and do not have representation. Yet every American agrees that taxation without representation, which led to the creation of our nation, is wrong.
“Survey questions matter greatly. When asked if they favor making D.C. a separate state, many Americans are opposed, but when asked, in 2005, if D.C. should have equal voting rights in the House and Senate, 82% of respondents agreed.
“Because the D.C. statehood bill has not been close to passage until now, we have only begun to nationalize our fight for statehood. Congress has often acted to right historical wrongs before polls showed that the American public was on board. For example, in 1961, Gallup found that only 22% of Americans approved of the Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights Movement. In 1963, Gallup found that only 23% of Americans approved of the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. Yet Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“The Founders, who went to war because they paid taxes without representation, did not intend for 700,000 taxpaying American citizens in the capital they created to be the only Americans left without a voice in their own national legislature. Taxation Without Representation was the rallying cry that founded this nation. It was unjust in 1776 and it still is in 2019.”
Norton’s statehood bill, H.R. 51, has a record 213 voting cosponsors in the House and its companion bill, introduced by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), has a record 33 cosponsors in the Senate. In March, the House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which contained extensive findings supporting D.C. statehood and marked the first time in American history either chamber of Congress has endorsed D.C. statehood. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) strongly endorsed D.C. statehood upon introduction of Norton’s D.C. statehood bill; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) unveiled a sweeping proposal to combat voter disenfranchisement, including restoring the Voting Rights Act, establishing national, automatic voter registration laws, and passing a D.C. statehood bill. In addition, 91 national groups, including some of the largest advocacy organizations in the country, have endorsed H.R. 51 and are committed to passing it through Congress. The first House hearing on D.C. statehood in 26 years, originally scheduled for July 24th, was delayed due to the rescheduled hearing with special counsel Robert Mueller. The hearing on H.R. 51 will be rescheduled for the fall.