- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2008


Before President Bush leaves office, he should answer a letter from my son, Army Capt. James N. Rimensnyder (”Bush, Cheney comforted troops privately,” Page 1, Dec. 22). In 2002, while a cadet at the Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Capt. Rimensnyder, who has just been deployed to Iraq for his second yearlong tour, wrote the president the following letter -

”Dear Mr. President - As a native-born resident of the District of Columbia, you know, of course, that I have no voting representative in Congress. This situation has persisted for 200 years. District residents first brought this to the attention of Congress in 1801. Today, we are the only citizens of the United States, excluding felons, who pay federal taxes and serve in the Armed Forces, but are denied representation in Congress.

“Two years ago, when I reached my 18th birthday, I registered as a Republican and voted in the 2000 presidential election as provided in the 23rd Amendment to the constitution. Now I am a Cadet at the United States Military Academy, and appeal to you to uphold the longstanding tradition of our party to advocate voting representation in Congress for the residents of the District of Columbia.

“Sir, I wish that one day soon I might have the opportunity to meet you, salute you as my Commander-in-Chief, and thank you personally for addressing this grievance.”

It would bring great comfort to Capt. Rimensnyder and his family for the president to acknowledge in writing that residents of the District of Columbia deserve to be represented in Congress. If the president is at a loss for words, he should consult the Senate floor statement (Aug. 16, 1978) of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, Arizona Republican:

”We have a situation in America where citizens do not possess the most cherished of political rights - voting representation in Congress. We know that District residents have borne the same responsibility as other U.S. citizens when their country called on them to serve in time of war. We know that during the Vietnam War, for example, District of Columbia casualties ranked fourth, on a proportionate basis, out of the 50 States. The District residents died and bled for their country. Now they are seeking their chance to vote and be represented in it.”




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