- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A candidate running for chair of the Democratic National Committee said veterans organizations that have not supported D.C. statehood have turned their backs on those who served in the military and call the District home.

Robert Vinson Brannum, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and District resident, said the push for statehood deserves the support of major veterans groups.

“If these national organizations, business organizations, cannot support the veterans in the District of Columbia on statehood, then they are not supporting veterans,” Mr. Brannum said at a candidates forum at the Woman’s National Democratic Club. “You cannot say you support veterans and oppose and not stand up for D.C. statehood.”

Mr. Brannum is considered a long shot for the top post at the DNC.

There has appeared to be general agreement among the candidates running for DNC chair that D.C. should get statehood and on Wednesday they applauded Mr. Brannum’s remarks.

The issue of D.C. statehood gained some more attention this week after House Republicans moved to gut the District’s assisted suicide law. The proposal now must pass through both chamber of Congress.

Congress has the power to withhold fund for city programs. Under the Home Rule Act, the District can draw up and approve its own budget, but it also must be approved by Congress in the federal appropriations bill.

“I and 60,000 other veterans in the District of Columbia risked our lives, put on a uniform, to defend freedom and justice for many people around the world, but when we come home we don’t have it on Constitution Avenue,” Mr. Brannum said. “There is something wrong with that.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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