Washington, DC


Photo by Elvert Barnes

From Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Office:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today the date of the House floor vote on her District of Columbia statehood bill (H.R. 51) in a joint press conference with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) this morning. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson also spoke. The House’s vote, scheduled for June 26th, will be the first time either chamber of Congress has voted on the D.C. statehood bill since 1993. Norton got the first-ever vote on the D.C. statehood bill in 1993. The bill currently has 224 cosponsors.

Norton’s remarks follow.

It is surely worth noting as our country prepares to celebrate its birth as a nation on July 4th that the House of Representatives will acknowledge on June 26th the equal citizenship of the residents of the nation’s capital by voting for statehood for the District of Columbia.

The significance, first and foremost, is for the residents of the nation’s capital, who have worked for 219 years for this imprimatur, opening the path to all the elements and the full meaning of citizenship. For me, today is also personal, not because I am the author of the bill. It is personal because for three generations my family has yet to attain the rights other Americans take for granted. The D.C. statehood bill will always have a personal acknowledgement from me in the name of Richard Holmes, my great grandfather, who escaped as a slave from a Virginia plantation. Richard Holmes made it as far as the District of Columbia, a walk to freedom but not to equal citizenship.

For the first time, statehood will put an end to our oldest slogan: “taxation without representation.” To crown that denial, D.C. residents pay the highest federal taxes per capita without equal representation. Coming in this, the third century of our nation, however, statehood means much more to us than dollars and cents. Statehood is priceless. Statehood assures that living in our nation’s capital is about pride, not prejudice.”

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