Don't dismiss D.C.'s shadow representatives
By Billie Day,
We are concerned about how a Sept. 3 editorial characterized the role of the city’s shadow representatives in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
The editorial, “For D.C. delegate to Congress,” endorsed Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), but said The Post would endorse no candidate for shadow representative because the office “carries no real responsibilities and hurts the city’s efforts to be taken seriously.” On the contrary, the position carries great responsibility: Since 1796, six other areas have sent such advocates to Washington to secure the statehood they were eventually granted.
Individuals in these D.C. posts are expected to devote themselves to advocating for full and complete congressional representation for the District, a goal that the League of Women Voters and many others are working hard to achieve. The job demands dedication, and voters should elect the individuals best able to do it. The Post has a responsibility to report on these candidates as well as all the others on the ballot.
True, our nonvoting delegate also strives for full representation for D.C. and helps the cause. But that job also requires devoting time to a host of other issues as well as constituent services and is not a substitute for the shadow representatives.
It’s not too late for the editorial board to tell readers about candidates for shadow representative positions.
The writer is president of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia.
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