After a New England snowstorm canceled a trip scheduled for today, D.C. Council members announced that they will travel to New Hampshire on Jan. 27 to press state legislators to embraces statehood for the District.
The trip was rescheduled after it was learned that New Hampshire’s state capital, Concord, was forecast to receive three to six inches of snow.
But D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) and council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) will announce later Thursday that a new date has been set for Jan. 27.
As part of renewed effort by D.C. officials to rally support for statehood, government leaders are planning a series of trips to state legislatures across the nation to ask that they embrace the idea. The first trip was set for New Hampshire, where one of Catania’s friends, Rep. Cindy Rosenwald (D), is sponsoring a nonbinding resolution in support of full D.C statehood.
Gray and all but two council members were scheduled to testify this morning in support of the resolution.
When word circulated about the trip, numerous journalists and D.C. advocates decided to join the mayor and council in the Granite State.
Even the Occupy DC supporters who engaged in the recent voting rights hunger strike got in on the trip, leaving for New Hampshire by car before learning that it had been postponed. (Despite the snow, they met with Rosenwald on Thursday in Concord.)
Yet not all D.C. residents are up for a field trip. Some council members said they would use their taxpayer-funded office accounts to pay for their plane ticket to New Hampshire. On Thursday morning, D.C> Republicans called on Gray and the council to cancel the New Hampshire trip and focus their efforts locally, noting that many top-ranking legislators in Virginia and Maryland oppose statehood.
“Our Mayor and D.C. Council members should save our city money and start in Richmond and Annapolis,” said Robert Kabel, chairman of the local GOP. “Instead of putting D.C. taxpayers on the hook for their trips up to New England and around the country, we should be focusing on our neighbors.”
In response, Catania said Kabel should be helping District officials find Republican support for statehood.
“We would welcome the Republican party help in our pursuit of statehood,” said Catania, a former Republican who left the party in 2004. “I would welcome Mr. Kabel finding a Republican legislator in Annapolis or Richmond who would sponsor a D.C. statehood bill. When he finds that sponsor, I will be happy to go to Richmond or Annapolis to testify, at my own expense.”