Back to previous page


Statehood for D.C. doesn’t have to be a dream

The satire in response to the D.C. statehood act proposed by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) was a riot [“The New Columbia,” Style, Dec. 22]. Like most satire, it included a sure truth, one that applies to all statehood efforts today and in the future: “It has no chance of passing.” Happily for the District’s residents, there is another way.

The issue, as license plates and other inscriptions make clear, is the absence of representation in Congress for D.C. dwellers. That failing can be repaired by giving the residents a ballot that allows them to vote for one candidate in any of the bordering congressional districts. With that, all incumbents and challengers hoping to serve in the neighboring districts will be forced to respond to the interests of D.C. voters, and the Founders’ intention that the seat of the federal government not belong to any state will be respected. This approach would be much more palatable than creating a new state.

This change might require a short amendment to the Constitution. (“The legal residents of the District of Columbia shall be permitted to cast a vote for a single candidate for any one of the attached congressional districts. The residents shall not be counted in the determination of districts and shall not cause an increase in the number of Representatives in the House.”) No state has a real interest in opposing such an amendment. This can and should be adopted.

Alan Howe, Arlington

© The Washington Post Company