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Green Party LogoDC Statehood Green Party disappointed by the Democratic Party platform's omission of DC statehood

THE DC STATEHOOD GREEN PARTY
http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org

For immediate release:
Friday, September 7, 2012

Contact:
Scott McLarty, DC Statehood Green Party media coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org

The Green Party remains the only national party with ballot status in DC to endorse statehood

Green presidential candidate Jill Stein: "I strongly support statehood for the District of Columbia"


WASHINGTON, DC -- Leaders and candidates of the DC Statehood Green Party called the omission of an endorsement for DC statehood in the Democratic Party's 2012 national platform a a possible setback for the movement to bring democracy and full citizenship rights to residents of the District of Columbia.

The Green Party remains the only major party in the District to support DC statehood in its national platform: "Enact statehood for the District of Columbia. Ensure that residents of the District of Columbia have the same rights and representation as all other U.S. citizens." (2012 Green Party Platform, http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2012/democracy.php#316100).

"I strongly support statehood for the District of Columbia, which will afford DC residents self-determination, permanent self-government, and full representation in Congress. DC statehood remains part of the unfinished business of the Civil Rights Movement," said Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party candidate for President (http://www.jillstein.org).

The DC Statehood Green Party is an affilliate of the Green Party of the United States and Dr. Stein will be on the DC ballot.

"DC residents should be very disappointed by the lack of support for statehood in the Democratic platform," said David Schwartzman, Statehood Green Party candidate for the DC 'Shadow' seat in the US Senate. "We would like to know -- who in the Democratic Party opposes DC statehood, and why do they have so much power that they can keep endorsement of DC statehood out of their party's platform?"

The text of the Democratic Party's position on DC reads:

"Every citizen of the United States is entitled to equal citizenship rights, including the 638,000 residents of the nation's capital who pay federal taxes without representation. The American citizens who live in Washington, DC, like the citizens of the 50 states, should have full and equal congressional rights and the right to have the laws and budget of their local government respected without congressional interference." (http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform#greater-together)

Statehood Greens disputed a statement from nonvoting US House Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton that the Democratic platform's language "endorsed statehood and all its particulars" without mentioning statehood.

"There's a wide gap between saying Congress shouldn't meddle in local laws and budgets and supporting DC statehood," said Ann Wilcox, Statehood Green candidate for At-Large Member of DC Council and activist lawyer who has defended Occupy protesters. "Even if our current Congress were to enact non-interference legislation preventing Congress and the White House from imposing unwanted laws and budgets, a more hostile (i.e., Republican) Congress would have the power to repeal it and restore its power over DC. This wouldn't happen if the District became a state -- statehood has never been rescinded anywhere in the US. The Democratic platform's language on DC is a feeble and unacceptable substitute for endorsement of DC statehood."

Many DC democracy activists have expressed frustration over President Obama's lack of action, after promising to support DC statehood during 2008 campaign appearances. On July 2, DC Statehood Greens joined Ralph Nader, the Stand Up! for DC Democracy Coalition (http://www.freedc.org), and other civic groups in an announcement of a limited general strike to protest the colonial status of the District of Columbia and to support DC statehood. Natale "Lino" Stracuzzi, DC Statehood Green candidate for DC Delegate to the US House, spoke at the press conference on the strike (http://nader.org/2012/07/02/dc-statehood-limited-general-strike-news-conference).

"I was deeply disappointed the Democratic Party to Congress did not choose to support DC statehood by including it in the Party Platform," said G. Lee Aikin, DC Statehood Green Party candidate for DC 'Shadow' Representative to Congress. "While full voting rights would be an improvement, in the long run nothing would prevent Congress from exercising their natural tendency to meddle in DC affairs. This is especially true when sometimes our elected officials prove to be as imperfect as elected officials in any other state. Thus our full citizen's rights must be protected by statehood status."

Background:

In July, the House Judiciary Committee, under Republican leadership, voted to limit the reproductive rights and privacy of women in the District of Columbia (see "DC Statehood Green Party: Vote by House committee Republicans to limit women's reproductive rights in DC proves the urgent need for DC statehood," DC Statehood Green Party press release, July 24, 2012, http://www.gp.org/press/pr-state.php?ID=536). The Republican Party's 2012 platform opposes DC statehood.

Statehood Greens said that efforts in recent years by nonvoting DC House Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and other Democrats to win 'DC Voting Rights' granting the District a single voting seat in Congress have turned out to be a damaging distraction from the demand for DC statehood. The DC Voting Rights Bill, if passed, would have had little effect on Congress's legislative power over the District. After pressure from DC statehood advocates, Del. Norton introduced a statehood bill (HR 265) in 2011 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.00265:).

Congress and the White House have imposed unwanted legislation and policies on the District, including a ban on needle exchange to reduce HIV transmission, the DC Revitalization Act of 1997 that stripped District government of most powers, and a prohibition on the enactment of Initiative 59 for medical marijuana (which passed in DC with a 69 percent majority). Congress has also attempted to meddle in DC's education policies and gun control laws.

Although the US Constitution mandates a federal enclave apart from the states, DC statehood would not require a constitutional amendment and can be enacted by a simple majority vote in Congress. The borders of the federal enclave can be altered by Act of Congress (precedent: Congress's vote in 1846 transferring part of the District to Virginia) to include only federal government properties such as the White House, Capitol, Mall, and Supreme Court building and the grounds on which they sit. Congress could then admit DC (proposed name: New Columbia) to the union as a state by majority vote, as it admitted all the other states after the initial 13 colonies. With statehood, DC residents would gain full voting representation in Congress similar to all other Americans -- two Senators and one Representative.

See also:

"Forty years of lip service: DC in national party platforms"
By Mike DeBonis (blog), The Washington Post, September 5, 2012
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/mike-debonis/post/forty-years-of-lip-service-dc-in-national-party-platforms/2012/09/05/345a1a7a-f770-11e1-8b93-c4f4ab1c8d13_blog.html

Talking Points, Quotes on DC Voting Rights Bill, DC Statehood, and Democracy
DC Statehood Green Party press release, March 22, 2007
http://www.gp.org/press/states/dc/dc_2007_03_22.shtml

Statehood Versus Voting Rights
DC Statehood Green Party
http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org/sitemap/statehoodversusvotingrights

The DC Statehood Papers: Writings on DC Statehood & Self-Government
By Sam Smith, The Progressive Review
http://prorev.com/dcsthdintro.htm

DC Statehood Green candidates in the 2012 election:

Natale "Lino" Stracuzzi, for DC Delegate to US House, https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/stracuzziforcongress

David Schwartzman, for the 'DC Statehood' seat in the US Senate

G. Lee Aikin, for the 'DC Statehood' seat in the US House of Representatives, http://gleeaikin.blogspot.com

Ann Wilcox, for DC Council At-Large


MORE INFORMATION

DC Statehood Green Party http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org


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