August 2012


Note: This is the DC Statehood Coalition’s second letter regarding statehood in the 2012 Democratic Party Platform. Organizations belonging to the coalition include DC for Democracy, ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, Last Colony, and Stand Up! for Democracy in DC (Free DC).

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
U.S. House of Representatives
2136 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Anita Bonds, Chair
D.C. Democratic State Committee
P.O. Box 50622
Washington, DC 20091

Dear Eleanor and Anita:

I am writing to you again on behalf of the DC Statehood Coalition and the many thousands of residents who strongly support statehood for the people of the District of Columbia.

We are troubled that, despite your efforts over the last few weeks, we have no assurance that the word “statehood” has been included in the Democratic National Convention Platform. And we continue to be troubled that the fully acceptable language proposed by the State Committee’s Statehood and Self-Determination Committee, adopted by the State Committee, and approved by both of you, was nevertheless somehow rewritten to exclude the words “and statehood”, and the re-written version was then apparently submitted to the Platform Drafting Committee. So your recent attempts to get the originally approved statehood language included in the platform have, in fact, been an effort to correct, in our opinion, the error of submitting the rewritten language in the first place.

So, we believe that a large part of the responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in today belongs to our own representatives in this matter. To correct things will require the actions of these same representatives, and we strongly urge both of you, as well as the Mayor, to continue, among other things, to lobby Mayor Cory Booker, Chair of the Platform Committee for the words “and statehood” right up to next Tuesday’s Convention opening day and vote on the Party Platform.

We have not given up, and we are not pleased with the State Committee Chair’s statement last Thursday to DC’s delegates to the Convention that “statehood” would not be in the Platform. We implore you to make every possible effort in the days that remain to bring about the requested change, and we stand ready to assist in any way necessary.

Respectfully submitted,

Jerry N Clark
Interim Chair, DC Statehood Coalition

cc: Mayor Vincent C. Gray
Council Chair, Phil Mendelson
DCDSC Statehood and Self-Determination Committee
James Bubar
Janice Davis
Shelley Tompkin
William O’Field

August 8, 2012
Anita Bonds, Chair
D.C. Democratic State Committee
P.O. Box 50622
Washington, DC 20091

Dear Anita:

I am writing to you on behalf of the D.C. Statehood Coalition, members of which include the ACLU-National Capital Area, DC for Democracy, Stand-Up! Free DC, DC Statehood Student Association, and DC Statehood-Yes We Can!, as well as many unaffiliated DC individuals who ardently support statehood for the District of Columbia.

We are deeply concerned that a last minute change was made to the language we understand had been submitted by the DSDSC’s Statehood and Self-Determination Committee, approved by the full State Committee, and supported by you. Before the change, the language tracked the resolution proposed by the DCDSC and adopted by the Democratic National Committee on September 10, 2011. As adopted, the resolution read “Therefore, be it resolved that the Democratic National Committee endorse and encourage citizens and their members of Congress to support full democracy AND STATEHOOD (emphasis added) for the District of Columbia that 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 last minute change introduced broad language supportive of equality, including “full and equal congressional rights and the right to have the laws and budget of their local government respected without congressional interference.” The words “AND STATEHOOD” do not appear. It is unclear what “full and equal congressional rights” means, although we assume it means full representation in the House and Senate, which raises serious constitutional questions that statehood does not. In any event, full representation and legislative and budget autonomy are not equivalent to statehood.

The District of Columbia’s local government, through its elected officials, has demonstrated its full support for statehood through numerous measures, including the introduction of the New Columbia Admission Act in the House of Representatives, the responsibility assigned to the D.C. Council’s Committee on Housing and Economic Development for “matters relating to statehood and self-determination for the District”, and legislation creating the 51st State Commission. The deliberate removal of the word “statehood” in the DCDSC’s recommended language to the DNC Platform Committee inexplicably contradicts our local government’s stated policy.

We urge the DCDSC to withdraw the revised language and resubmit the proposed language approved by the State Committee prior to the change, and to submit this language to this weekend’s DNC Convention Platform Committee meeting in Detroit. Otherwise, the DCDSC will owe Democrats in the District of Columbia a full explanation as to why the proposed language departs from the official policy of support for DC statehood.

Respectfully submitted,
Jerry N Clark,
Interim Chair, DC Statehood Coalition

Cc: Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton

Mayor Vincent C. Gray
Councilmember Michael A. Brown
DCDSC Statehood and Self-Determination Committee:
James Bubar
Janice Davis
Shelley Tompkin
William O’Field