Advocates for D.C. Statehood Call on Senate to Pass H.R. 51

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Statehood bill will likely pass in the House of Representatives for the first time in history

Washington D.C. — Today, advocates and members of 51 for 51 stood together on Capitol Hill to voice their support for D.C. statehood and the need for equal representation in Congress for the more than 700,00 tax-paying residents living in the nation’s capital.

The grassroots coalition 51 for 51 is pushing to help make D.C. statehood a reality by bypassing the filibuster in the Senate. With H.R. 51 reaching 219 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and tomorrow’s first-in-a-generation hearing on statehood in the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the District of Columbia has never been closer to gaining equal representation in Congress. But unless filibuster rules are changed, obstructionists in the Senate will continue to stand in the way.

“This is not about partisan politics. This is about doing right by over 700,000 D.C. residents who have been literally living at the center of the nation’s power without being able to wield their fair share of it. I am incredibly proud of this campaign and of the House of Representatives for their monumental action on this issue and I expect the Senate to do its duty as well and hold a vote on D.C. Statehood. Anything less than that is an affront to our democracy and the Americans living here in Washington D.C.,” said 51 for 51 Campaign Manager Stasha Rhodes.

“Teaching 3,000 D.C. students who will become D.C. voters, it’s important to show them that democracy works. We became part of the coalition to show student we have to stand up for our rights. This is an opportunity to teach our students a lesson about standing up for what’s right,” said Elizabeth Davis, President of the Washington Teachers’ Union.

“The more than 700,000 Americans who live in this city with no voting representation in Congress deserve better than second-class status in their own country. Statehood for the District of Columbia is a critical step toward fixing our broken democracy. Massive, structural changes are needed to turn our democracy into a system that actually works for everyone. In its current form, the Senate represents a shrinking ideological minority that is not reflective of the vibrant diversity that makes this country so beautiful,” said Director of Democracy Policy Meagan Hatcher-Mays of Indivisible.

“For too long District residents have felt the impacts of not having a voice in Congress. Everyone should have a say in the laws of their community, particularly when it comes to life and death matters like how to best prevent gun violence. D.C. residents have long felt the effects of gun violence in their city, while having gun safety measures determined by a Congress that doesn’t represent them. This is a violation of basic democratic rights and we need to take every step possible to grant District residents full statehood and proper representation in Congress,” said Brady Vice President of Policy Christian Heyne.

“Platform regularly organizes young women-identifying people to join us on Capitol Hill to meet with their lawmakers to discuss the critical issues that matter to them and their ability to live full, safe, and healthy lives. And every time, we have passionate young people who live and vote in Washington, D.C. ask if there is space for them. They and their representatives in Congress have been systematically disenfranchised. So these young leaders come to us with their lives and rights under attack- asking that question, ‘is there a place for me, and my life in these Halls?’ That is unacceptable and that is why Platform is unequivocally proud to be a part of the 51 for 51 Coalition,” said Platform Co-founder Jennifer Mandelblatt.

“We need D.C. statehood, but we also are realizing how important it is to educate the youth and D.C. community about their rights, in order to mobilize and get folks engaged and see this issue come full circle,” said Justin Yaddiya Johnson of Long Live GoGo.

“Statehood is coming. We have a plan to get us there, and this campaign will do it,” said Bo Shuff, Executive Director of DC Vote.

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51 for 51 is a coalition comprised of D.C.-based and national groups committed to equal representation rights for D.C.’s over 700,000 residents. The coalition of 20 progressive groups says American citizens living in the District deserve a voice in Congress and control over their own local laws.

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