Heard on the Hill

‘Better Call Saul’ Star Stumps for D.C. Statehood

Jonathan Banks is the 10th celebrity featured in the “51 Stars” project

Actor Jonathan Banks, a D.C. native, joined a growing chorus of celebrities calling for statehood for the District of Columbia. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for The Creative Coalition)

What do award-winning, antihero creator Vince Gilligan and D.C. shadow Sen. Paul Strauss have in common? The vision to call in all-around “fixer” Jonathan Banks to help drive home their respective messages.  

Banks, who played the cool-as-ice cleanup man on binge-worthy “Breaking Bad ” and its ongoing prequel “Better Call Saul ,” most recently popped up alongside Strauss in a political ad. Banks lent his voice to the growing chorus of celebrities advocating for D.C. statehood.  

In the 30-second spot, which aired Monday during the season finale of “Saul” — the show has already been picked up for a third season — Banks spoke of a youth spent riding D.C. streetcars and catching Senators’ games.  

“A lot’s changed since then. But, sadly, one thing hasn’t. D.C. residents do not have equal rights,” a stern-faced Banks informs viewers. “That’s why I support statehood.”  

Strauss says Banks is the 10th celebrity featured in the “51 Stars” project — a campaign intent on putting disenfranchised District residents on par (at least politically) with the rest of the nation.  

He said the earlier ads were broadcast in Iowa ahead of caucus season, a gambit Strauss credited with helping Iowans for D.C. Statehood gain some traction.  

“West Wing” vet Richard Schiff is on deck next; Strauss predicted that spot could air in the DMV in the coming weeks.  

After that, the gloves are really coming off: World Boxing Organization welterweight champ Jesse Vargas is expected to step into the ring for the following round.  

“Depending on what happens with the Nevada State Convention , we may run Vargas sooner,” Strauss suggested.  

Contact Rojas at warrenrojas@rollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @WARojas Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.