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DC Statehood GP: Del. Norton, Dems & Reps abandon DC statehood in platform draft

DC Statehood Green Party criticizes Del. Norton, her Democratic Party,  and the Republican for omitting DC statehood from the 2008 Democratic or Republican platform draft

The Green Party is the sole party on the DC ballot that supports statehood for the District; Statehood Greens, DC’s ‘Second Party,’ will carry the banner for DC statehood in the 2008 election (http://www.statehood4dc.com/home)

Since the ‘Shadow’ Representative and Senator seats were created to lobby for DC statehood, Democratic candidates for these positions will be delinquent in their responsibility if they follow Del. Norton’s call to drop the demand for statehood

DC Statehood Green Party leaders and candidates expressed concern and disappointment over the Democratic omission of DC statehood from its 2008 national platform draft at the request of DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and the Republican Party’s omission of it also.

The Green Party of the United States, of which the DC Statehood Green Party is an affiliate, remains the only national party with ballot status in DC that endorses statehood for the District, which would end ‘colonial’ status for DC’s majority African American population and provide real democracy and civil rights.
The Democratic Party removed DC statehood from its platform in 2004.  In previous platforms, including 2000, the Democrats expressed support for statehood.  The Republican Party has never supported statehood for the District.

“The Statehood Green Party — not the Democratic or Republican parties — stands with the people of Washington, DC, in our demand for the real citizenship, democratic self-government, and full representation in Congress that all other Americans enjoy,” said Joyce Robinson-Paul, Statehood Green candidate for US Representative.  “We’re dismayed that Democrats — DC’s largest political party — have abandoned the goal of statehood.”

Statehood Greens expressed special disappointment that nonvoting Delegate Norton requested that DC statehood be set aside and that Congress should instead grant the District ‘voting rights,’ which is understood to mean a single voting seat in the US House.  All other citizens of the US are represented by three members of Congress: one in the US House and two in the US Senate.

“We dispute Ms. Norton’s assertion that DC is ‘not ready’ for statehood, and we’re unhappy that Ms. Norton’s submission to the Democratic platform draft omits mention of statehood.  We’re as ready for statehood as everyone else in the US who already lives in a state,” said David Schwartzman, Statehood Green candidate for at-large member of City Council.

“Unlike the 2004 Democratic platform, the 2008 draft doesn’t even endorse democratic self-government.  The draft says we deserve ‘the benefits of full citizenship, especially the vote, that are accorded to citizens of every state’ without explaining what these things mean or how they’re to be achieved.  It’s like saying every child deserves to be educated but refusing to endorse public schools.  ‘Especially the vote’ is even more ambiguous.  We already have the right to vote for President, for our local elected officials, and for our nonvoting Delegate to the House, but we’re still being under the boot of Congress,” added Mr. Schwartzman.

Del. Norton claimed that the District is not ready for statehood in an appearance at a candidates’ forum organized by TENAC (DC Tenants Advocacy Commission, http://www.tenac.org) on Thursday, August 14.  Statehood Green candidates attended the forum; the Statehood Green Party has consistently supported rent control and other rights and protections for DC tenants.

Statehood Greens noted that promoting DC statehood is the special job of the District’s elected US Senator and US Representative, commonly called the congressional ‘Shadow’ seats.  The District government maintains these positions to help in lobbying for DC Statehood.

If Democrats elected to the District’s ‘Shadow’ Senate and Representative seats and Democratic candidates for these seats acquiesce to Del. Norton and fail to promote DC statehood, they will be delinquent in their responsibility.

The DC Statehood Party (which merged with the DC Green Party in 1999) was founded in 1970 to make statehood a goal of the civil rights movement.  Party members assert that DC residents need democracy and self-determination, which means an end to the power of Congress and the White House to control local laws, policies, and finances.  With statehood, the District could address problems like housing, health care, and education without federal government interference.

The DC Statehood Green Party has declined to support ‘DC Vote’ legislation supported by Del. Norton and other members of Congress, saying that a single voting seat in the US House will not afford genuine democracy for the District.  Only statehood will guarantee full voting representation in the US House and Senate as well as democratic autonomy.  Furthermore, the DC Vote bill may be found unconstitutional and overturned if challenged in court, since the US Constitution expressly limits voting seats in Congress to states.  DC residents have consistently supported statehood in polls.  See “Talking Points, Quotes on DC Voting Rights Bill, DC Statehood, and Democracy” DC Statehood Green press release, March 22, 2007 (http://www.gp.org/press/states/dc/dc_2007_03_22.shtml).

The DC Statehood Green Party is now the District’s ‘Second Party’ in terms of electoral clout.  Statehood Green candidates have collectively received more votes than Republicans in recent general elections for partisan office, even when the two parties have run the same number of candidates.  In 2006, the five Statehood Green candidates received a total of 47,421 votes, while the five Republican candidates received 32,658 votes (http://www.dcboee.org/information/elec_2006/general_2006_results.shtm).

Comparison of platforms

• 2004 Green Party National platform: “We support statehood for the District of Columbia. The residents of D.C. must have the same rights and representation as all other US citizens.”
(Note: The 2008 Green Party platform was not approved at the party’s 2008 national convention in Chicago, July 10-13, so the 2004 platform remains in effect.  The 2008 Green platform draft endorsed DC statehood.)

• Draft 2008 Democratic National Platform (page 50): “Our civil rights leaders sacrificed too much over the years for us to tolerate denial to the nearly 600,000 residents of our nation’s capital of the benefits of full citizenship, especially the vote, that are accorded to citizens of every state.”

• 2004 Democratic Party Platform (page 39): “As we encourage democracy around the world, we must extend democracy here at home. We support equal rights to democratic self-government and Congressional representation for the citizens of our nation’s capital.”

• 2000 Democratic Party Platform (page 34): “Just as our country has been the chief apostle of democracy in the world, we must lead by example at home. This begins with our nation’s capital. The citizens of the District of Columbia are entitled to autonomy in the conduct of their civic affairs, full political representation as Americans who are fully taxed, and statehood.”


DC Statehood Green Party  http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org

2008 DC Statehood Green candidates http://www.statehood4dc.com/home
Maude Louise Hills (Louise Thundercloud), for Delegate to the US House of Representatives
Joyce Robinson Paul, for US Representative
Keith Ware, for US Senator
David Schwartzman, for City Council, At-Large
Cynthia McKinney, for President of the United States http://www.runcynthiarun.com
Rosa Clemente, for Vice President of the United States http://www.rosaclemente.com

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