Residents petition to make D.C. the 51st state
As President Barack Obama continues into the final years of his second term, many important domestic and global issues will land on his desk. DC residents hope that among pressing issues like immigration reform and stopping ISIS is their petition to make the District of Columbia the 51st state of the Union.
This isn’t just some petty request from a few residents, jealous of the sparsely populated states like Wyoming. Making D.C. the 51st state was mentioned many times by the newly elected councilmembers during Mayor Muriel Bowser’s inauguration.
The White House is required to officially respond to any petition that has more than 100,000 signatures. In turn, the residents of DC have created an official White House petition that urges President Obama to bring the “statehood cause directly to Congress & the American people by advocating for D.C. statehood in his State of the Union speech,” which takes place Jan. 20.
The petition says, “The 660,000 Americans citizens who live in the District of Columbia fulfill all obligations of citizenship but are denied the most basic rights of citizenship: the right to full and equal congressional representation & the right to be the arbiters of our local affairs”.
It is not looking too good for the hopeful DC residents. 731 signatures down. 991,269 to go. Not to mention that even if they do receive all of these signatures, and even if President Obama addresses this in the State of the Union (Vox highly doubts this), Congress would probably laugh at this request.
The idea that the nation’s capital should not be a state dates all the way back to James Madison’s Federalist Papers. He believed that the nation’s capital needs to be different than the rest of the states so that it can independently provide for its own maintenance.
Congress loves listening to dead men like Madison, so Vox thinks this will be a tough one to take seriously. Maybe the DC residents should put all of their marbles into an issue that doesn’t require a Constitutional amendment, like Initiative 71.
Photo: Casey Broadwater via Flickr