- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2001

Just days before the country celebrates its independence on the Fourth of July, D.C. activist groups and politicians kicked off a summerlong effort to restore the District's full voting rights in Congress at a rally outside the Capitol yesterday.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting congressional representative, Mayor Anthony A. Williams and other officials announced Freedom Summer — a nod to the Civil Rights-era tours of the South meant to educate people about the second-class status of blacks.
For three hours every Saturday until Labor Day weekend, the city's elected leaders and volunteers will walk around the Mall telling tourists the District must have laws and budgets approved by Congress.
"Those visitors from the 50 states believe that D.C. residents have the same rights they have," Mrs. Norton said. "When told they do not, most American people say we should have the same rights they have. We need these people to tell their representatives to support our bills."
Mrs. Norton has introduced the Taxation Without Representation Act in the House, which would give the District full representation in Congress. Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman introduced the legislation in the Senate.
The District had a full vote briefly in the early 1990s under the Democratic-controlled Congress. Mrs. Norton won the vote in the Committee as a Whole in 1993 when she submitted a legal memorandum, but Republicans — who gained control of the House in 1994 — stripped the city and other territories of avote in 1995, saying they were not states and therefore not entitled to it.
D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz, at-large Republican, said she became involved in the fight for D.C. voting rights when she came to the city more than 30 years ago.
"I always used to joke, 'Hopefully, in my lifetime.' I am now getting worried if it will happen in my lifetime," Mrs. Schwartz said.
Council member Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, said Republicans usually oppose such legislation because the District has a case of "the three toos."
" think of us as too liberal, too black and too Democratic," Mr. Mendelson said. "That would mean two more Democrats. We are too much of a threat."
Florence Pendleton has been a Democratic "shadow senator" for 11 years. She wants Congress to give her constituents the same rights as the rest of the nation.
"They elected me and I have been here 11 years and they haven't invited me into the club yet," she said.
"But I am going to stay there knocking on the door to get in the club that most of the guys down there have, called the Senate."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide