President Barack Obama said today he was in favor of D.C. becoming a state, though he didn’t indicate that he’d do anything about it beyond saying so.
“I’m in D.C. so I’m for it!” he said today at a town hall-style meeting at D.C.’s Walker Jones Education Campus for his My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, according to USA Today. “Folks in D.C. pay taxes like everybody else, they contribute to the overall wellbeing of the country like everybody else, they should be treated like everybody else.”
After Obama was re-elected in 2012, he put the District’s “Taxation Without Representation” license plates on his official vehicles, a sign that he at least acknowledges that D.C. residents don’t have equal rights. Other than that, he’s remained largely quiet on the issue of D.C. statehood. (Obama has called for greater budget autonomy in the past.)
The president did say today that while the issue of D.C. statehood is important, it would be “difficult” to get it through Congress.
Statehood activists are already applauding Obama’s statement.
“President Obama’s support for DC statehood shows that he understands the injustice we face every day,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said in a press release. “The President has repeatedly proposed greater autonomy for DC, only to see those proposals die because of partisan squabbling in Congress. We hope the administration will now request that his Senate allies hold a hearing on the DC statehood bill.”
Photo by Mr. T in D.C. via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0