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In recent weeks, supporters of D.C. statehood have popped up in Iowa and Nevada, transforming quadrennial caucuses into moments of solidarity. Now, some of their farther-flung peers have legislatively maneuvered to support statehood.
Where, you ask? The archipelagic state of Hawaii, of course.
This week, a group of a dozen Hawaiian state senators promulgated a resolution “urging the United States Congress to support legislation granting budget autonomy, legislative autonomy, and statehood to the District of Columbia.” Those are things D.C. residents have themselves long been pushing for. And yet the help was not lost upon one local advocate.
“I find it shameful that their two U.S. senators are mute on the subject of D.C. statehood, because Hawaii was one of the last states admitted into the Union,” resident Josh Burch says. “So it’s nice to see locally elected folks in support.”
The three-page resolution notes many facts statehood advocates know well and rely upon for their cause. Among them:
- “The residents of the District of Columbia were granted the right to vote for the President and vice President through passage of the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1961.”
- “According to the 2010 census, the District of Columbia has 601,723 residents, which is comparable to the populations of Wyoming (563,626), Vermont (625,741), North Dakota (672,591), and Alaska (710,231).”
- “District of Columbia residents share all the responsibilities of citizenship, including paying federal taxes, serving on federal juries, and defending the United States as members of the United States Armed Services in every war since the War for Independence, yet they are denied full representation in Congress.”
- “No other democratic nation denies the right of self-government, including participation in its national legislature, to the residents of its capital.”
- “Legislation is often introduced, but rarely considered, in the United States Congress that would provide for greater representation and autonomy for the residents of the District of Columbia.”
For the showing of sympathy we say: Mahalo. It certainly helps when your geographic opposite thinks in the same way.
Update 4:20 p.m.
D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss said he was pleased by the resolution. “As the hopeful 51st State, knowing we have the support of our fellow Americans from the 50th State means a great deal to our effort,” he explained in a statement.
Hawaiian State Sen. Clarence Nishihara said, also in a statement: “I believe all citizens of the United States should have proper representation. Introducing this resolution allows taxpaying Americans to not only have a seat at the table, but a voice at the table.”
Photo by Jeff Kubina via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)