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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/may/21/fentys-dc-statehood-about-face/

Fenty's D.C. statehood about-face


Letter to the Editor, The Washington Times, Friday, May 21, 2010 

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has watered down his language of support for district statehood by saying only that he "is supportive of full voting rights for residents" - all the while pulling the plug on budget funds for the effort ("Fenty budget omits statehood-bid funds," Politics, May 14).

Mr. Fenty began his inaugural address in January 2007 by promising, "Together, we pledge steadfastly that our goal is to become the 51st state. None of us can, or should, rest easy until we all have the opportunity to participate fully in our great democracy." I remember my tears of joy as I watched the mayor utter those unexpected 34 words during his speech. What a difference three years can make.

Even before eliminating statehood funds from his budget, the mayor was raiding Washington government funds used for celebrations in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and D.C. Emancipation Day, the District's only public holiday. Washington statehood activists have always used D.C. Emancipation Day to highlight the irony between 3,100 enslaved persons freed nearly nine months earlier than enslaved people elsewhere in the country and the fact that Washington residents still aren't free from under the constitutional thumb of the U.S. Congress. "First freed, last free" is our motto. 

How does Mr. Fenty expect to transition to "Governor" Fenty if he dilutes his support for statehood by backpedaling on his political language, withholding budget funds for the movement and choosing not to celebrate and honor our local history? If the mayor truly believes in making ours a world-class city, he needs to show strong leadership during hard political times and put his money where his mouth is. The mayor must contribute financially, verbally and visibly to the statehood movement in order to rectify the disenfranchisement of half-a-million Washington residents. Without true leadership from our highest elected officials, we will continue to be the U.S. government's last colony. 

KAREN A. SZULGIT 

Washington

 
Home Opinion D.C. Mayor Fenty's statehood about-face

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