To Help Strengthen D.C. National Guard, Norton Introduces Bill to Give Education Grants to D.C. Guard Members
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today introduced the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr., District of Columbia National Guard Retention and College Access Act to permanently authorize funding for a program that provides grants for higher education to members of the D.C. National Guard. Norton has continued to get funds every year for the program ($450,000 for fiscal year 2017) through the appropriations process, but she has fought for permanent authorization to ensure the program’s permanent equality with similar programs in the region and nation. The fund is named for Major General David F. Wherley, a former Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, who, along with his wife, Ann, and seven others, was killed in the tragic 2009 Metro crash. Norton’s bill is part of her effort to strengthen the D.C. National Guard in light of its unique role responding to natural disasters, such as the devastating hurricanes the nation has experienced this year, as well as terrorist attacks. She earlier introduced a bill to 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.
“It is critical for the D.C. National Guard to be able to attract the best candidates, given its unique mixed mission on federal and local matters and the increasing strength of natural disasters,” Norton said. “We are grateful to our men and women in uniform who volunteer to serve their city and protect our residents, and we should reward them fittingly with a permanent authorization of this critical scholarship grant program.”