President Barack Obama has a full plate of business to attend to before the new year and in the weeks leading up to his inauguration on Jan 21.
Local activists are hopeful, though, that he’ll be able to fit in some time to change his license plates.
DC Vote, the District of Columbia’s leading organization fighting for expanded local autonomy, is leading the effort to urge Obama to outfit his presidential limousine with the “Taxation without representation” license plate.
It is aiming to accomplish this via an online White House petition. If it gets enough “signatures” within 30 days of the petition’s filing date, the administration will offer an official response.
“President Obama supports a vote in Congress for the people of DC. But the license plates on the Presidential motorcade do not include the Taxation Without Representation message,” the petition reads. “We ask that the Administration place the Taxation Without Representation plates on his vehicle prior to the inauguration so the nation will clearly understand the political reality in DC.”
It’ll be a challenge: the vote threshold is 25,000, and it must be reached by Jan. 18. As of Friday afternoon, the count was fewer than 980.
The city adopted the license plate slogan in 2000 with the intent of raising awareness about the District’s lack of voting rights and statehood status. Though Obama has been a strong proponent of both, in addition to D.C. budget autonomy from the congressional appropriations process, he has opted not to use the license plate in his first term in the White House.
The last president to run with the plates was Bill Clinton.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.