Opinion: Washington D.C. deserves to become the 51st state
D.C. residents should have the same right to representation as the rest of the country
The House of Representatives held a hearing on Sept. 19 that AU students attended to discuss the Washington D.C. Admission Act. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) in January, would make Washington D.C. the 51st state and give more than 700,000 residents voting representation in Congress.
D.C. should become the 51st state in the United States of America for innumerable reasons. As of right now, D.C. is a federal district that Congress has direct jurisdiction over. If D.C. does become a state, it would be granted votes in Congress. Currently, D.C. residents pay federal taxes, yet only have a non-voting membership in the House of Representatives. Making D.C. a state would guarantee taxation and representation.
Even though D.C. has more residents than most states, it is still considered a federal district. As of 2019, Vermont has a population of approximately 627,180 people and Wyoming has around 572,381 people, while D.C. has a population that totals around 711,571. Even though D.C. has a population larger than these two states, its residents do not receive the same voting rights that their citizens have. Every citizen deserves the right to vote; however, some citizens are not given the same rights as others.
D.C. residents pay high prices to live and work for living in a highly-populated urban area. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of a single-family home in D.C. is $417,400, and real estate prices only increase every year. Residents who pay this much money deserve the right to vote for representatives that will consider costs of living in a city when creating legislation.
Furthermore, D.C. is constantly changing. Things like protests, political announcements that make the press come running and public transportation problems can easily disrupt D.C. residents’ daily schedules. Sometimes residents have little warning about these events which impact their daily life so greatly. D.C. residents deserve the chance to get a say in how things are run in their neighborhoods.
I do acknowledge some of the opposing side’s standpoints on this issue. It may be costly to run prisons and courts, but isn’t it worth it to be counted as a true equal to other citizens of our country? People in bordering states, like Maryland and Virginia, get representation for their ideals. Someone living 10 minutes away might have the right to vote and yet a D.C. citizen does not.
Another reason that some claim D.C. should not be a state is because the proposed state name does not appeal to them. If D.C. becomes a state, it would be called the “State of Washington, D.C.” However, D.C. would no longer stand for “District of Columbia.” Instead, it would stand for “Douglass Commonwealth.” If opponents try to fight against D.C. statehood because of the name it would bear, then their argument is, simply stated, weak.
“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.” Those words, while it may surprise some, were not written by Lin Manuel Miranda in “Hamilton,” but by Thomas Jefferson, 243 years ago in the Declaration of Independence. Today it seems that D.C. residents do not get the same equal treatment that is written at the core of our nation’s history. D.C. should become a state not just because of its involvement in political matters, population size or high living prices, but because of how important it is to the nation. The citizens of our nation’s capital should be represented in government and have a constitutional right to vote.
Georgina DiNardo is a freshman in the School of Communication and an opinion staff columnist.