2020 DNC Democratic Platform Testimony
To: Julie Chavez Rodriguez and Dennis McDonough, Co-Chairs DNC Platform Committee
From: Charles Wilson, Chair, and Linda Gray, Vice Chair, D.C. Democratic State Committee, Silvia Martinez, National Committeewoman (D.C.), and Jack Evans, National Committeeman (D.C.), James S. Bubar, DNC Platform Committee Member (D.C.) and Co-Chair Statehood Committee, and Andria Thomas, Co-Chair Statehood Committee
Re: D.C. Statehood Platform Testimony
Date: June 3, 2020
Provide the Residents of the District of Columbia With Statehood and Full Democracy
We are writing to urge that D.C. Statehood be included in the 2020 Democratic Platform.
Democratic Party platforms have historically supported Statehood for the District of Columbia. We call on the Democratic Party to renew that commitment in 2020 by endorsing Statehood and full democracy for the District of Columbia in the Democratic Party platform.
The United States Constitution that was ratified in 1788 stated that the House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen by “the People of the several States,” including citizens living on the land that would later be designated by the federal government for the nation’s capital as ceded by Maryland and Virginia to become the District of Columbia. However, through the enactment of the “District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801,” D.C. residents have been disenfranchised from voting for representative Members of Congress for more than 200 years.
District of Columbia residents pay more in federal income taxes than 22 states and more in federal taxes than the District Columbia receives in federal funds. The District of Columbia has a population of over 700,000 residents which is larger than two states. More than 200,000 residents served in the federal armed services, and District residents served in every war fought by the United States since the Revolution. Yet, District of Columbia residents have no vote in the United States Congress. No other democratic nation in the world denies the right of self-government, including participation in its national legislature, to the residents of its capital.
The residents of the District of Columbia lack full democracy, equality, and citizenship enjoyed by the residents of the 50 states. They continue to express their determination to achieve full representation by electing two United States Senators and a United States Representative to advocate for Statehood and full democracy.
Until Democrats regained a majority in the House of Representatives, Congress denied District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) a vote in the Committee of the Whole, and trampled on District of Columbia Home Rule by introducing riders on how the District of Columbia spends its locally raised tax dollars. Although the District of Columbia has timely passed a balanced budget for more than 20 years, the District of Columbia has faced the possibility of being shut-down each year because of Congressional deliberations over the federal budget.
The recent Covid-19 relief package, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Cares Act), deprived the District of critical funding by treating it like a U.S. territory, rather than a state, further demonstrating the importance of granting D.C. Statehood.
The residents of the District of Columbia endorsed Statehood in 2016 by passing a District-wide referendum advising the D.C. Council to petition Congress to enact a Statehood admission act to admit the District into the Union.
On January 3, 2019, the first day of the 116th Congress, Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced their signature bill to expand Americans' access to the ballot, H.R. 1, which found that “District of Columbia residents deserve full congressional voting rights and self-government, which only Statehood can provide,” and that measure passed the House on March 8, 2019.
On January 3, 2019, Delegate Norton introduced H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act to make the District of Columbia the 51st state with a record number of 155 original co-sponsors in the House, and the number of co-sponsors has since increased to more than 218, the number needed to pass the bill in the House. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued her own statement in support of D.C. Statehood stating that the introduction of H.R. 51 is a critical step in righting a historic wrong. The companion Senate bill, S. 631, was introduced by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and currently has 35 co-sponsors.
H.R. 51 would make the residential and commercial areas of the District of Columbia the 51st State while preserving a smaller federal district as the Constitution requires containing the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, National Mall, and other federal properties. The bill would authorize the first elections to Congress of two voting Senators and one voting Representative.
Delegate Norton also introduced bills to give the District of Columbia greater budgetary and legislative autonomy as part of her strategy to give the District expanded home rule and equality while simultaneously pursuing Statehood.
In February 2019, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez announced full Democratic Party support for Statehood for the District of Columbia at the DNC Winter meeting, pledging to continue the effort needed to win more Democratic seats in Congress to make D.C. Statehood a reality, and Speaker Pelosi announced full support for D.C. Statehood to the Democratic State Parties at the I Will Vote Gala in Washington, D.C.
In April 2019, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine joined with 20 other Attorneys General to support Statehood for the District of Columbia and urge passage of H.R. 51. Statehood would grant the District local control of its criminal and civil justice system, which is currently administered directly by the federal government. Statehood would give D.C. local control over its own National Guard and prevent federalization of its local Metropolitan Police that the President considered using in response to recent peaceful protests over racism and police violence.
In December 2019, the Association of State Democratic Committees (ASDC) comprising all state party chairs and vice chairs endorsed a resolution in support of Statehood and full democracy for the residents of the District of Columbia.
Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, and all of the Democratic Party candidates for President have given statements in support of Statehood for the nation's capital.
It has been more than 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act and more than 40 years since the District of Columbia was granted Home Rule, and the residents of the District of Columbia have yet to have the same equal rights as the residents of the 50 states.
D.C. Statehood will empower young people in our nation’s capital, who are leaning more Democratic and voting in greater numbers. We must act now to ensure that all future generations enjoy full democracy.
Statehood will guarantee to the residents of the District of Columbia full Congressional voting representation, budget autonomy, and all of the rights that the people of the 50 united states enjoy.
The 2016 Democratic Party platform supported Statehood for the District of Columbia. We call on the Party to renew that commitment in 2020 by endorsing Statehood and full democracy for the District of Columbia in the National Democratic Party Platform.
We respectfully request the opportunity to testify on this matter should the DNC Platform Committee schedule hearings. For further information please contact James S. Bubar, DNC Platform Committee Member (D.C.) (202) 285-0312, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Wilson, Chair
Linda Gray, Vice Chair
Silvia Martinez, National Committeewoman
Jack Evans, National Committeeman
James S. Bubar, At Large Committeeman
Dave Donaldson, At Large Committeeman
Charles Gaither, At Large Committeeman
John Green, At Large Committeeman
Keith Hansan-Towery, At Large Committeeman
Philip Pannell, At Large Committeeman
Charles Wilson, At Large Committeeman
Alexa Wertman Brown, At Large Committeewoman
Sharece Crawford, At Large Committeewoman
Pat Elwood, At Large Committeewoman
Chioma Iwuoha, At Large Committeewoman
Reta Jo Lewis, At Large Committeewoman
Latifa Lyles, At Large Committeewoman
Monica Roaché, At Large Committeewoman
Stanley Mayes, Ward 1 Committeeman
John Zotolli, Ward 1 Committeeman
E. Gail Holness, Ward 1 Committeewoman
Anita Bellamy Shelton, Ward 1 Committeewoman
John Fanning, Ward 2 Committeeman
Susan Barañano, Ward 2 Committeewoman
Sherri Kimbel, Ward 2 Committeewoman
Hugh Allen, Ward 3 Committeeman
Beau Finley, Ward 3 Committeeman
Elizabeth Mitchell, Ward 3 Committeewoman
Shelley Tomkin, Ward 3 Committeewoman
Todd Brogan, Ward 4 Committeeman
James Sydnor, Ward 4 Committeeman
Renee Bowser, Ward 4 Committeewoman
Linda Gray, Ward 4 Committeewoman
Harry Thomas, Jr., Ward 5 Committeeman
Timothy Thomas, Ward 5 Committeeman
Romaine Thomas, Ward 5 Committeewoman
Bernita Carmichael, Ward 5 Committeewoman
Don Dinan, Ward 6 Committeeman
David Meadows, Ward 6 Committeeman
Wendy Cronin, Ward 6 Committeewoman
Andria Thomas, Ward 6 Committeewoman
Philip Hammond, Ward 7 Committeeman
Dexter Williams, Ward 7 Committeeman
Dorothy Douglas, Ward 7 Committeewoman
Lauren Grimes, Ward 7 Committeewoman
Stuart Anderson, Ward 8 Committeeman
Anthony Muhammad, Ward 8 Committeeman
Wanda Lockridge, Ward 8 Committeewoman
Regina Pixley, Ward 8 Committeewoman
Camille Glover, Ward 1 Democrats Chair
Austin Naughton, Ward 2 Democrats Chair
Philip Thomas, Ward 3 Democrats Chair
Candace Tiana Nelson, Ward 4 Democrats Chair
Andrew Gordon-Fletcher, Ward 5 Democrats Chair
Chuck Burger, Ward 6 Democrats Chair
Derek Ford, Ward 7 Democrats Chair
Troy Donté Prestwood, Ward 8 Democrats Chair
Alan Karnofsky, Add On Committeeman
Brandon Frye, Add On Committeeman
Bob Brandon, Add On Committeeman
Kevin Chavous, Add On Committeeman
Bo Shuff, Add On Committeeman
Cameron Trimble, Add On Committeeman
Chanell Trimble, Add On Committeewoman
Lynn French, Add On Committeewoman
Tiye Kinlow, Add On Committeewoman
Janeese Lewis George, Add On Committeewoman
Deborah Shore, Add On Committeewoman
Dorinda White, Add On Committeewoman
Kishan Putta, Asian Pacific Islanders Chair
Jennifer Hara, Asian Pacific Islanders Vice Chair
Tony Dugger, Black Caucus Chair
Brandy Butler, Business Caucus Chair
Anita Bonds, Elected Officials Caucus Chair
John Capozzi, Environmental Caucus Chair
Christine Warnke, Ethic Council Chair
George Holmes, Religious Council Chair
Kareem McCraney, Returning Citizens Caucus Chair
Imani Woody, Senior Caucus Chair
Hector Rodriguez, Veterans Caucus Chair
Jeannette Mobley, D.C. Federation of Democratic Women Chair
Cozette Thomas, D.C. Federation of Democratic Women
Kent Boese, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club Chair
Monika Nemeth, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club
Gabriela Mossi, Latino Caucus President
Jose Barrios, Latino Caucus Committeeman
Ruth Pagani, Latino Caucus Committeewoman
Jennifer Blemur, Young Democrats Chair
Zach Israel, Young Dems Committeeman
Sheika Reid, Young Dems Committee- woman
Jatarious Frazier, Young Dems Exec. VP
Matt LaFortune, D.C. Young Dems Political Advocacy Chair
Bella Ryb, College Democrats Chair
Devon Bradley, College Dems Vice Chair
Caroline Petti, Ward 5 Dems Statehood Chair
Ward 3 Democrats
Ward 5 Democrats