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Statehood Hero Jerry Clark Dies E-mail

Jerry Clark (far right) with D.C. statehood activists at 2012 Democratic Convention, Charlotte, NC

Jerry Clark, a long-time human rights and statehood activist, died Saturday, April 9, 2016, at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia. He had been in and out of the hospital and rehab centers since he had a bad fall and injured his head in January 2016.

Jerry graduated from the Burris School in Muncie, Indiana in 1959.  He received an AB from Princeton University, a JD from the University of Chicago and completed his doctoral studies in Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He was an assistant in the Department of Justice under Elliott Richardson but spent the major portion of his career as the Executive Director of the United Mineworkers Pension and Trust Funds.  Jerry was active in Washington politics, gay and lesbian rights and had long been a leader in the effort to achieve statehood for the District of Columbia.

Jerry was the Chair of the DC Statehood Coalition, and had been active in DC for Democracy as its Chair (2010-2013) and Political Director (2008-2010 & 2014-2016) and was a longtime member of the steering committee. Kesh Ladduwahetty, the current Chair of DC for Democracy, described Jerry as "a dear personal friend as well as a colleague and fellow activist in the progressive movement.  I will miss his calm, measured voice on the phone, his gentle smile, his sagacious advice.  He approached politics on the level of grand strategy, yet fully embraced the grunt work, from canvassing to standing at the polls on election day.  Antony's words in Julius Caesar come to mind: "His life was gentle, and the elements mixed so well in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, 'This was a man.'"

His family is planning a major event in July on what would have been his 75th birthday. They are considering having an informal event within a week or so so his friends and family can gather together to remember Jerry and the impact he had on all of us.

Jerry was recently a guest on D.C. (Statehood) Representative Franklin Garcia's DC Statehood Today show:  Jerry's interview starts at the 12:50 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8supGVuuGU.

 
Iowa Congressman's Tweet Causes Stir E-mail

Washington Post reporter Perry Stein reported on March 23, 2016, that Iowa Congressman Rod Blum, a Republican from Iowa who is on the House Committee with jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, tweeted "Washington DC is booming. Tower cranes everywhere. Being built on the backs of US taxpayers. DC needs a recession."  This did not go down well with D.C. residents. For the full story, click on read more.

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Hawaii's State Senators Support D.C. Statehood E-mail

Support for statehood for the residential alnd commercial parts of the current District of Columbia is growing around the country. On February 22, 2016, twelve State Senators of our newest state, Hawaii, introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 34, supporting statehood for D.C.  Hawaiians have long supported the people of D.C. in their quest for their full democratic rights.

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Norton Blasts Cruz for Launching Extreme Assault on D.C.’s Liberty and Local Government E-mail

D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton issued the following press release on January 21, 2016 blasting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for introducing a bill that would force D.C. to take local funds away from D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools and use them for vouchers for private schools.:

Contact: Benjamin Fritsch – o: 202-225-8050, c: 202-225-8143 January 21, 2016
Norton Blasts Cruz for Launching Extreme Assault on D.C.’s Liberty and Local Government
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today blasted Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for introducing an unprecedented attack on District of Columbia home rule by introducing a bill to radically alter D.C.’s local education system.  Norton said Cruz’s bill is “private school vouchers on steroids,” forcing D.C. to direct its local funds away from D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools toward vouchers for any student who chooses to attend private schools.  Norton said this bill is an even greater slap in D.C.’s face than the existing private school voucher program, which uses only federal funds.  Norton said this is the third time Cruz has introduced anti-home-rule bills this Congress.  Shortly before announcing his presidential bid, Cruz introduced bills to overturn two D.C. anti-discrimination laws.  Last year, the House and Senate rejected all amendments to establish national voucher programs as part of the bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
“Senator Cruz’s bill is one of the most radical and blatant attacks on D.C. home rule and local control that we have witnessed, showing how easily his ambitions for the presidency allow him to dump his self-proclaimed principles of local control over local affairs,” Norton said.  “Who is Ted Cruz to tell the D.C. government how to spend their own taxpayer funds on education, a great priority in this city?  It is one thing for the federal government to meddle with D.C.’s local affairs and set up a private school voucher program with federal funds; it is quite another to force a local jurisdiction to use its own finite funds to pay for an unaccountable voucher program, taking away funding from our traditional public schools and public charter schools. Unless there are a lot of Republicans who are anxious to nurture Cruz’s presidential ambitions, I believe I will have allies as I go all out to defeat Cruz’s latest anti-local government bill and see that it goes nowhere.”
 
Senator Ted Cruz Tries to Dictate D.C. Laws E-mail

Perry Stein wrote in the February 5, 2016 edition of the Washington Post that Texas Senator Ted Cruz recently introduced legislation in the Senate to force the District of Columbia to use local taxpayer funds to fund a school voucher program which District officials oppose. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) introduced a companion bill in the House. As D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton stated: “It is one thing for the federal government to meddle with D.C.’s local affairs and set up a private school voucher program with federal funds; it is quite another to force a local jurisdiction to use its own finite funds to pay for an unaccountable voucher program, taking away funding from our traditional public schools and public charter schools”

Senator Cruz had previously meddled in District affairs by seeking to overturn a D.C. law regarding discrimination over reproductive health decisions and another to keep religiously affiliated colleges in D.C. from having to fund gay and lesbian student groups. Aaron C. Davis and Mike DeBonis discussed these efforts in an article in the March 18, 2015 edition of the Washington Post. For the full articles, read more.

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