The District’s right to full-fledged voting membership in Congress got a thumbs up in New Hampshire on Thursday.
On a 145-133 vote, the New Hampshire House approved a resolution “expressing support for the right of residents of the District of Columbia to be fully represented in the Congress of the United States of America.”
State Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, the Democrat who sponsored the legislation, told CQ Roll Call earlier this week that residents of the Granite State take “early American values,” including no taxation without representation, “very seriously.”
Don’t forget — the state motto is: “Live free or die.”
Rosenwald has been sponsoring pro-D.C. rights legislation for six years. A snowstorm sealed the fate of a previous resolution expressing support for D.C. statehood when, in 2012, as the storm intensified, the number of House members dwindled and she was unable to muster enough support.
D.C. Councilmember David Catania, an independent who is running for mayor, traveled north to testify on behalf of the resolution. He made the same trek this year, along with local activists from DC Vote.
“This vote is further evidence that elected leaders from all parties who seriously consider our situation recognize the injustice District residents face every day,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said in a statement. “While this is a symbolic victory, it is encouraging that legislators from a state with no clear interest in our rights felt compelled to stand up for the District.”
Rosenwald grew interested in the District’s disenfranchisement while working alongside Catania on health policy. Catania told CQ Roll Call that New Hampshire would be his first stop in an East Coast effort to rally support for D.C. equality on the state level.
“This is the first time in nearly 30 years that legislators from another state have raised their voices to affirm the rights of District residents to be fully represented in the United States Congress,” Catania said in a statement.
In June 1984, Delaware ratified the District of Columbia Voting Rights Constitutional Amendment. That measure, originally passed by Congress in August of 1978, would have afforded the D.C. full representation in Congress, the Electoral College and the constitutional amendment process. It was ratified by 16 states during its seven-year congressionally specified approval period, falling short of the required 38 states.
“Today is a major step in our effort to make voting rights for the District a national issue,” Catania said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.