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Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton writes in an op-ed published in the Washington Informer today that, if elected, she “will be a vocal champion for D.C. statehood.” While the former Secretary of State and First Lady has expressed support for the District’s full equality in the past (including last July, when she apparently told D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton that she “of course” favored it), Clinton hasn’t done so in such a direct way this year. District voters will cast their ballots in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, June 14.
“In the case of our nation’s capital, we have an entire populace that is routinely denied a voice in its own democracy,” Clinton writes, relying on familiar facts. “Washington, D.C., is home to nearly 700,000 Americans—more than the entire population of several states. Washingtonians serve in the military, serve on juries and pay taxes just like everyone else. And yet they don’t even have a vote in Congress.”
Clinton’s opponent Bernie Sanders also supports statehood, havingcosponsored the New Columbia Admission Act in 2015. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has been harder to pin down. In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd last August, Trump said he “would like to do whatever’s good for the District of Columbia,” but hedged saying he had “a conflict of interest” because of his forthcoming hotel. Then, in March, he toldthe Post‘s editorial board that he didn’t “have a position on [the issue] yet.”
“I think it’s just something that I don’t think I’d be inclined to do,” Trump said. “I’d like to study it. It’s not a question really—maybe [Todd] didn’t ask me like you’re asking me—I don’t see statehood for D.C.”
But voting representation in Congress? “That would be OK,” Trump said.