July 25, 2019 at 1:50 pm EST | by Bo Shuff
D.C. statehood is winnable
Initiative 77, gay news, Washington Blade
(Photo by Ted Eytan via Wikimedia Commons)

In the column titled, “DC Statehood, LGBT Polls Shock,” columnist Mark Lee missed an opportunity to understand the breadth of support for DC Statehood, instead relying on a single data point built off a horribly vague polling question. 

It is irresponsible to present the idea that this one question is an accurate measure of where the Statehood movement stands. It does not explain the level of support for the Statehood bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. It certainly doesn’t explain the monumental coalition of organizations now supporting DC Statehood. 

The actual facts make it clear that statehood is moving forward and closer to success than ever before. 

First, competing polling, from a similar national sample in April, showed nearly half of those polled support Statehood for D.C. when asked the question in this way – “Do you support making Washington, D.C. a state with full representation in Congress?” When presented with just one additional sentence about Washingtonians paying full federal taxes without having equal representation, the support for D.C. grows to 66 percent.

But single question polling does not paint the full picture. 

Support for DC Statehood is increasing.  

The last time DC Statehood was last voted on in the House of Representatives was in 1993 when 153 Members voted yes for Statehood. Today, H.R. 51, the DC Statehood Bill has 216 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and is moving toward passage by the full House. 

There is movement in the House. And there is a movement for Statehood being built in D.C. and across this country. 

DC Vote has been working to expand the coalition of organizations that support Statehood. In 2017, we began that process with fewer than 50 groups signing on to support limited autonomy for D.C. Today, more than 100 national organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, Pride at Work, the National Education Association, Clean Water Action, United Food and Commercial Workers, March for Our Lives, representing millions of Americans, have endorsed H.R. 51 and DC Statehood. These groups represent a broad cross-section of the American electorate and are working to expand the knowledge about the District to all 50 of the states. 

As you can see, DC Statehood is winnable. It is a right that we are advocating for and we will continue to do so until our voices are heard and we have our full and equal representation as Americans.

 We believe there is power in being informed. As we continue to educate people across this country about DC Statehood, they will join us in fighting for our wonderful, diverse district, to become the 51st state.

Bo Shuff is executive director of DC Vote.

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