Fellow Americans, fellow delegates — I am privileged to represent the almost 700,000 American citizens, growing by 1,000 every month, in your nation’s capital.
We are so proud of our city, with a budget larger than that of 13 states, that we want to become the 51st state of the United States!
We are home to our most powerful institutions, yet we have been denied our power as American citizens. The power we seek is ordinary, not lofty. It is the democratic power of equal citizenship. It is the power of local control over $4 billion in locally-raised funds — 30 states rely more on federal funds to balance their annual budgets than DC does. It is the power of local control over purely local laws — like our gun safety laws that Republicans try to eliminate every single year. And, yes, it is also the democratic power that gave birth to the nation itself—the quid pro quo power of the vote in the House and Senate in return for the taxes we pay to support the United States.
DC residents not only pay taxes without representation, we pay the highest federal taxes per capita in the United States — with no votes in the House and Senate to show for those taxes.
For lack of voting rights, the nation’s founders declared their independence and dared their opponents to stop them.
DC residents are not declaring independence from our country. We are declaring our intention to join our country as the 51st state.
Republicans say DC wants too much, stating in their platform that our taxpaying citizens are “a special responsibility of the federal government” and calling “by whatever means necessary” to undermine, not increase, DC’s local sovereignty.
In dramatic contrast, our Democratic platform says: “Restoring our democracy … means passing statehood for the District of Columbia.” Our nominee Hillary Clinton says, “as President, I will be a vocal champion for DC statehood.”
Never before has a presidential nominee taken office with so solid a promise for full and equal citizenship for D.C. residents. And listen up America: A nominee who will stand up for DC will stand up for you, too.
Hillary for President. Statehood for the District of Columbia!
2020 Democratic National Convention. "Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton at DNC 2016." YouTube video, 5:11. July 27, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY5uG-M64Cg.