DC RELEASE: DC Statehood Green Party urges Congress to pass DC statehood bills
D.C. STATEHOOD GREEN PARTY
For immediate release:
Monday, September 15, 2014
Scott McLarty, D.C. Statehood Green Party media coordinator, 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eugene Puryear, D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate for At-Large Member of D.C. Council, 202-556-1651, email@example.com (web site: http://www.EugenePuryear.com)
David Schwartzman, D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate for "Shadow" U.S. Senator, 202-829-9063, firstname.lastname@example.org (web site: http://www.davidschwartzman.com)
Senate committee hearing on the "New Columbia Admissions Act" takes place Sept. 15
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The D.C. Statehood Green Party is calling for passage of two bills in Congress which would make the District of Columbia the 51st state of the U.S.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold a hearing, moderated by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), for the "New Columbia Admissions Act" (S. 132; with counterpart bill H.R. 292 in the U.S. House) on Monday, September 15. Local political leaders and representatives of organizations that support D.C. statehood will testify and submit written testimony. Statehood Green Party members will attend the hearing. (Hearing details: http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/equality-for-the-district-of-columbia-discussing-the-implications-of-s-132-the-new-columbia-admission-act-of-2013)
D.C. statehood has been the most conspicuous demand of the D.C. Statehood Green Party since its founding as the D.C. Statehood Party in 1970 by Julius Hobson and other local activists who called self-determination and self-government for the majority-black District an unfinished part of Civil Rights agenda.
The D.C. Statehood Green Party is planning actions on October 1 to promote the goal of statehood, including speak-outs by Greens across the U.S. October 1 is the beginning of the fiscal year, when Congress exercises its anti-democratic control over the D.C. budget. Details will be announced soon.
"We are pleased that Democrats in D.C. and Congress have finally caught up to the D.C. Statehood Green Party and other statehood activists in our call for statehood," said Eugene Puryear, D.C. Statehood Green candidate for At-Large Member of D.C. Council (http://www.EugenePuryear.com). "A few years ago, Statehood Greens criticized Democratic leaders and groups who set statehood aside and only demanded 'D.C. voting rights' -- a single voting seat in the U.S. House. The bill for D.C. voting rights, which failed, was a distraction. Even if the New Columbia Admissions Act doesn't pass right away, the new unity behind the goal of D.C. statehood is an important victory for D.C. residents."
Statehood Greens have argued that the lack of voting representation in Congress is only one of several reasons for statehood. Until D.C. becomes a state, Congress holds the power to veto locally passed laws and policies and impose unwanted laws and policies on D.C. residents. Congress may nullify a marijuana legalization measure on the D.C. ballot in November 2014. In July 2014, a Maryland Republican Representative inserted an amendment into the District's 2015 Appropriation Bill that would stop decriminalization of marijuana laws from taking effect and remove the initiative from the ballot in November. In June, House Republicans blocked funding for a law passed by D.C. Council that would eliminate the threat of jail time for marijuana possession.
"Within the constraints of colonial Home Rule, we must be determined to push its limits by putting in place a progressive D.C. tax structure, expanding funding of our low-income budget, and establishing a D.C. public bank holding our revenue instead of Wall Street," said David Schwartzman, D.C. Statehood Green candidate for "Shadow" U.S. Senator (http://www.davidschwartzman.com). "These measures would help energize our local movement for D.C. statehood. The opportunity to become a state and enjoy full constitutional rights and citizenship will also be an opportunity to further reduce income inequality and better the quality of life for all D.C. residents. We won't suffer Congress's veto power over our laws and budgets. We can assert control over our own school system, rather than tolerate the imposition of charter schools by Congress."
The New Columbia Admissions Act is consistent with arguments by statehood advocates that statehood for the District can be achieved by Act of Congress (requiring a 51% simple majority), without a constitutional amendment (requiring ratification by 2/3 of states). In 1846, an Act of Congress removed Arlington from D.C. and ceded it to Virginia, proving that Congress can legally alter the District's borders. Congress may therefore reduce the constitutionally mandated federal enclave to encompass only the federal properties (White House, Capitol, Mall, etc.), after which D.C. would be admitted to the union as a state, as all other states were admitted after the initial 13 colonies.
The Green Party has endorsed D.C. statehood in its national platform since the party was founded. Until recently, the Democratic Party endorsed some expansion of political rights for D.C. but deleted support for statehood from its national platform in 2004 and declined to reinstate such support in 2008 and 2012. Statehood Greens have sharply criticized Democrats for refusing to move forward on D.C. democracy in the past when they controlled Congress and the White House. The Republican Party does not support D.C. statehood.
The D.C. Statehood Green Party has major party status and ballot access in Washington, D.C. In recent general elections, Statehood Green candidates have collectively received more votes than Republican candidates, leading many to call Statehood Greens "D.C.'s Second Party" in terms of election-day numbers. The party is affiliated with the Green Party of the United States and accepts no corporate contributions.
Congress's threats against a marijuana ballot initiative prove the need for D.C. statehood, say D.C. Statehood Green candidates Eugene Puryear and David Schwartzman
D.C. Statehood Green Party press release, July 14, 2014
U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs
Hearing: Equality for the District of Columbia: Discussing the Implications of S. 132, the New Columbia Admission Act of 2013
September 15, 2014, 3:00 p.m., Room SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building
The D.C. Statehood Papers: Writings on D.C. Statehood & self-government, by Sam Smith http://prorev.com/dcsthdintro.htm
Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood http://the51st.org
Stand Up! for Democracy in D.C. Coalition http://www.freedc.org
Democracy for D.C.: Allow Statehood, Not ‘Voting Rights’
By Scott McLarty, Roll Call, January 25, 2007
Green Party of the United States
~ END ~