Home Issues D.C. Council Actions Voting Rights Testimony of Anne Anderson before D.C. Council April 7, 2009
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Testimony of Anne Anderson before D.C. Council April 7, 2009 E-mail

Testimony of Anne Anderson, LICSW, Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Public Oversight Roundtable by the Special Committee on Statehood and Self- Determination

The Status and Implications of the DC House Voting Rights Ace and the Gun Amendment

Thank you, Chairman Brown and the other members of the Special Committee on Statehood and Self-Determination, for this opportunity to speak my mind on this critical issue of democracy.  I have lived in DC since 1964, been a member of the DC Statehood Party since 1971, shortly after it was founded, and supported the work of Julius Hobson, Jo Butler, and our own “Grandmother of the World,” Hilda Mason, in their attempts to get full self-determination and Statehood for all of us who are citizens of DC. 

After Fred Heutte, one of the founders of the Party died, I was filling his seat as Ward 5’s representative to the DC Statehood Party Central Committee.  So I was at the meeting of the Party when Jo Butler came in late, waving papers she had found in her research in the Congressional Record at the Library of Congress that showed that members of Congress back then were worried about how they had disenfranchised the residents of the then-newly created District of Columbia.  They noted that the problem would have to be taken up later.

Well, here it is, more than 200 years later, and things are still not fixed.  I have seen all of the struggles, from trying to get a constitutional convention passed, to actually getting a statehood bill to the floor of the House.  I have also seen all of the ways that Congress uses the District for their own purposes with impunity.  I have written countless letters to Congress about this issue, lobbied at various times, marched when I could. 

All of this history is to let you know how disappointed I am with the DC House Voting Rights Act and all the political energy that many folks have been spending on it.

Unfortunately, it does nothing for self-determination, does not change the relationship between Congress and the District in any substantial way, and undermines the political will to actually fix this problem once and for all, granting statehood to the State of New Columbia, as the citizens of DC have already petitioned Congress to do.

So, when the DC Voting Rights Act passed the Senate with the gun amendment attached, I think the Senate made it exquisitely clear that there is no change in the status of DC—they can still do what they please without regard to the will of the citizens, and they are not particularly concerned that giving our Delegate a vote will change that status.  As a clinical social worker working in many parts of DC, I am regularly facing child clients who have been traumatized by incidents with guns, and I am horrified to think of yet more firearms allowed in this community. 

I recommend that this ill-advised bill be allowed to die a merciful death on the floor of the House. Then, our full energy can be turned to gaining Statehood for New Columbia, which would encompass the territory already identified by Congress as outside of the National Capitol Service Area.  With Statehood we can hold our own officials accountable, we’ll have full representation in Congress, just like 9 other states who have a million people or less, we can negotiate with our neighboring states to recoup the some $2.26 billion we ship out to MD and VA every year in “state” income taxes foregone, and we can protect ourselves from the overreaching of a federal government just like every other state in the Union. 

 
Home Issues D.C. Council Actions Voting Rights Testimony of Anne Anderson before D.C. Council April 7, 2009

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