Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, along with around two dozen attorneys general, on Monday issued a statement in support of the statehood for the District of Columbia ahead of April 16’s celebration of Emancipation Day.
The district residents deserve voting rights and autonomy, Herring and his colleges affirmed in the statement, urging the Congress to pass H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. The bill introduced by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton calls for granting D.C. statehood. Norton represents the District in U.S. House.
This is for the first time that state attorneys general from all over the country have teamed up to support D.C.’s statehood.
“The District’s over 700,000 residents work hard, raise families, and pay the highest federal taxes per capita, and yet they are deprived of the fundamental right to participate meaningfully in our representative democracy,” the attorneys general said in their statement.
— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) April 15, 2019
“The District of Columbia deserves a voice in this country’s legislature and should be able to govern itself like any other state,” the joint statement adds.
Herring told Fairfax News that Washington, D.C. already acted as an important state in so many ways and “it is well past time that their contributions to our country are reflected in statehood. District residents are hardworking, taxpaying Americans who deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted. I have worked with Attorney General Racine for years and I am pleased to stand beside him and our other colleagues today to support this initiative.”
The 20 attorneys general who declared their support for D.C.’s statehood together with Herring are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, New York Attorney General Tish James, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, which endorses full congressional voting rights and self-government for the District, on March 8, while H.R. 51 that would grant D.C. neighborhood got a record-breaking 201 co-sponsors from 42 states. It was also supported by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings who wants to convene a hearing on the proposed legislation later this year.