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Is One Vote Enough? Some Say No.

VIDEO | DC Statehood Forum

Things were jumping at the District of Columbia this week as members of the D.C. Statehood Green Party gathered to discuss the future of representation for residents.

One question dominated the forum: "Is the effort for the District to get a vote in Congress undermining the effort for D.C. Statehood ?"

Green Party leader John Gloster asked that question to a panel that included two councilmembers, the city's shadow delegation on Capitol Hill and several other activists from "Free DC" and "Yes We Can Statehood Now."

Councilmembers Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5) and Michael Brown (I-At-large), and Statehood Sen. Paul Strauss all said that while the ultimate goal is statehood, the fact that the city was close to getting a vote in the House of Representatives at time when the Democrats are in control in Congress and the White House is a good thing.

"If we get a vote in the House there is a danger that we can't overlook," Strauss said. "We could send a message to the American people that the problem of DC statehood has been solved for now. I think that it is a decision that we have to consider more broadly."

But Sam Jordan, a longtime statehood activist, voiced what appeared to be popular opinion among the 100 or so people in the audience Thursday night.

"The DC Voting Rights Bill is certainly not worthy of Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks. They sacrificed real blood, real lives, sweat... they represented real morality, none of that is ever stated about the DC Voting Rights bill," Jordan said.

Charles Cassell, who chaired of the DC Statehood Constitutional Convention during the early years of Home Rule, said the late activist Julius Hobson would be upset had he lived to see this day.

Neither D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton nor the leaders of DC Vote were on hand to hear the discussion among the many of the statehood faithful.

Gloster said his party plans to turn up the heat on the DC Statehood issue regardless of Norton's effort to get a vote on Capitol Hill.

"Now is the time to seize the moment," Gloster said, referring to President Barack Obama's support and a Democratic majority on the Hill.

"If we can't get statehood now, then when can we?" he said.

It's a question that remains to be answered.

Hamil R. Harris

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  February 9, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Voting Rights  
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The exact date that the little District of Columbia gets statehood is contained in the title of a song recorded by both Johnny Mathis and Donny Osmond.

Posted by: ArtKelly | February 9, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The ABA has a great statement on voting rights in the District:

Posted by: philip_s | February 9, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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