WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said at her second-term swearing in that she’s “counting on our warrior on the Hill to get us” to statehood.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) began the 116th Congress by reintroducing her legislation to make the District of Columbia the 51st state. This time it has a record 156 co-sponsors, 40 more than in the last Congress.
House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has vowed to move the bill through committee — with a hearing and a markup, at an unspecified time — because “we must protect the rights of everyone across the country, including the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who live in our nation’s capital.”
Norton’s bill, which would grant D.C. two senators and one House member, hasn’t gotten a hearing or floor vote since 1993.
Bowser said at her swearing-in that she “was elected with the help and in the era of President Barack Obama — what happened next, I don’t think we foresaw and many of us have not stopped lamenting it.”
“However, as your mayor, I must work with all leaders and do some things for you so you won’t have to. So we went to a tower in New York City and to the Oval Office to meet a new president to tell him exactly who we are, what we are about, that we pay our own way and that we want control of federal land in Washington, D.C. And I carried your message very, very clearly,” she said.
“D.C. demands statehood now,” the mayor added. “In 2016 you voted overwhelmingly to create our new constitution, boundaries and to form a representative government. And my eyes have not seen nor my ears heard any reason to stop fighting until we achieve D.C. statehood and we are going to start in a Democratic House.”
Bowser spoke at great length in the speech about accomplishments and goals for the city, stressing that “we are only as vibrant as our system of values works to protect us all and the rich diversity that is Washington, D.C.”
“You cannot lead the District of Columbia as a whole without placing yourself in the footsteps of the immigrant living in daily fear, of the trans women who lives constantly with the thought that no one cares about her life or her safety, or the person of faith concerned about bombing or shooting in his or her synagogue or church,” she said.
“Our political decisions are only as sound as all of the voices that make them. Liberals and conservatives, progressives and moderates, fiscal hawks and big government thinkers, we are committed to a focus on law and order and creating greater economic opportunity. Leading our great city as a whole requires good people with all viewpoints wrestling not with one another but with each problem and making decisions in the best interest of all of us, not a narrow few.”
The mayor that means no one “is a slave to ideology or popularity or even thinking about the consequences of our next election.”