D.C. deserves fair representation, but not state unto itself

What others say

Posted: Thursday, December 28, 2000

On Dec. 18, Barbara Lett-Simmons, 73, didn't cast an Electoral College vote for Al Gore, as she was supposed to do. Instead, she cast a blank ballot, as a protest that she and other residents of the District of Columbia cannot vote for and are not represented by any members of Congress.

She complained of ''taxation without representation,'' which the early American colonists rightly regarded as tyranny.

It's unfair, unreasonable and unjust that the estimated 519,000 D.C. residents are still treated as second-class citizens. They pay income taxes, must heed Congress' laws and have served in America's armed forces. Yet, unlike 276 million other Americans, they can't elect a member of the U.S. Senate or House or even a state legislator.

... Unfortunately, reformers have settled on an inappropriate and unlikely remedy: turning the District of Columbia into a separate state called New Columbia, so residents could elect two U.S. senators and one representative.

... Rather than press for statehood, district residents should instead be seeking to be included in an existing state. The best solution would be to put the district back into Maryland, the state from which it is now carved...

... Denial of basic civil rights in the cradle of our nation's democracy is a national black eye.

But the district should be part of a state, not a state unto itself.

-- The South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Dec. 26

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