DC deserves a governor
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There is no room left for debate: the nearly 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia deserve statehood. In fact, for the purposes of thousands of federal laws, Washington, D.C., already acts as a state, and they perform those functions well. Because of D.C.’s unique status in the American political system, D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserDC to offer gift cards to those getting first COVID-19 shot White House to host large outdoor gathering for July 4 DC board votes to lift last COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants MORE already functions as a mayor, county executive, and governor and that is why the Democratic Governors Association is proud to welcome Mayor Bowser to its ranks as its newest member.

Statehood for D.C. is a fight for democratic principles, civil rights, and racial justice — the very values the members of the DGA advance in their states and territories every single day. Making D.C. the 51st state means finally giving its residents the right to representation granted to them under the U.S. Constitution. Taxation without representation was as unjust in 1776 as it is today.

The District of Columbia is more than the D.C. many Americans hear about on the news. It is a thriving, dynamic city that is home to nearly 700,000 American citizens. Contrary to how some Republicans describe Americans living in Washington, D.C., they are “real people.” They are teachers who prepare our youth to become tomorrow’s leaders. Health care professionals who have led us through every stage of this pandemic with courage and compassion. They are artists and entrepreneurs, bartenders and musicians, landscapers and engineers. And over generations, the people of D.C. have created a uniquely D.C. culture — a culture that is distinct from that of neighboring Maryland and Virginia, and one that Washingtonians are proud to represent.

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Opposition to statehood is simply nothing more than partisan politics. Think of this. If D.C.’s residents were in Wyoming, a state with a smaller population than the city, and they were refused equal federal representation, Republicans in Congress would be marching in the streets. Instead, they repeat specious claims and dog-whistle attacks because they are worried about their ability to hold power, even if it denies power to fellow Americans. The Republican Party doesn’t want more voices advocating for affordable, quality health care for all. They don’t want more mothers and fathers fighting for strong public schools for their children. They don’t want stronger voting rights and increased access to the ballot box. They don’t want a state that represents the diversity of the United States.

Statehood for D.C. is a civil rights issue and a voting rights issue, and inextricably linked to the coordinated push by Republican state legislatures to make voting harder.

Voters elected Democratic governors in states as blue as California and as red as Louisiana because we stand for things that matter most to the families of this country: strong public schools, access to health care, economic opportunity for all, and a just and inclusive society. It’s why the majority of Americans are governed by a Democratic governor. Even during the dark days of the Trump administration, Democratic governors were moving the ball forward — expanding voting rights, fighting climate change, funding education, and keeping families safe and healthy in the midst of a deadly pandemic. With Mayor Bowser on the team, our efforts are even stronger.

To make this country work for all, all must have a voice in the decisions our country makes. We need D.C. to have the voting rights and representation that they deserve as U.S. citizens. We need them to have the autonomy and ability to elect a governor.

The DGA is proud to stand with the people of D.C. in their fight for statehood, and we look forward to Mayor Bowser working with us to continue to move this country forward and advance the values we know matter most.

Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamNew Mexico launching vaccine sweepstakes with M in prizes The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines MORE is the governor of New Mexico and chair of DGA.