Editor’s note: On May 6, more than two dozen Delaware lawmakers, led by Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton,, sent the following letter to our congressional delegation, thanking them for their support of Democratic Sen. Tom Carper’s Washington, D.C., statehood bill.
Representation is at the very heart of what we, as elected officials, do: We represent constituents. We represent their issues, concerns, beliefs and interests, and we take action on their behalf. It is a basic function of government that ensures that all residents have a voice in the decisions that impact their lives.
But for 712,000 American citizens living just 90 miles away, representation has been denied, despite their repeated requests to be made whole. The residents of Washington, D.C., live just footsteps from the seat of the United States government, but they have no say in the public policy that is enacted there. Despite District of Columbia residents endorsing statehood by 86% via a districtwide referendum in 2016, Congress has refused to take action.
We write to fully endorse and support Senate Bill 51, legislation from Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., that would establish Washington, D.C., as the 51st state in our union. We thank Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, both D-Del., for their support of this important and historic legislation, and we urge you to act decisively to ensure that these Americans’ voices are heard and represented.
By making the District of Columbia a state, Congress will finally give its citizens full voting representation in our government, which will also give them control of their local affairs. As we witnessed earlier this year, our capital’s status as a district prevented local leaders from activating its own National Guard unit during the Jan. 6 insurrection or accepting aid from neighboring states. This led to a delay in critical assistance that could have stopped the incident in its early stages and saved lives.
No other democratic nation denies its capital’s residents the right to self-govern or to participate in the national legislature. Congress has repeatedly interfered with the district’s attempts to self-govern, including barring how they spend locally raised revenue.
As of 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the District of Columbia has a population comparable to states such as Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska and North Dakota. District residents pay more federal taxes than residents of 22 states do, serve on federal juries and defend our nation as part of the U.S. military.
Despite their contributions, the residents of the District of Columbia continue to be treated as second-class citizens. Until Congress takes decisive action and honors their request to become a state, we cannot profess to hold true to the belief that all are created equal.
We, the undersigned members of the Delaware House of Representatives, urge the United States Congress to enact federal legislation granting statehood to the people of Washington, D.C. The state of Delaware supports admitting Washington, D.C. into the union as a state of the United States of America.
Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton, D-Newark
Also signed by:
Rep. Larry Lambert, D-Claymont
Rep. Paul S. Baumbach, D-Newark
Rep. Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, House majority leader
Rep. David Bentz, D-Christiana
Rep. Sean M. Lynn, D-Dover
Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, D-Wilmington
Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle
Rep. Gerald L. Brady, D-Wilmington
Rep. John L. Mitchell, D-Elsmere
Rep. William J. Carson, D-Smyrna
Rep. Sharae’a Moore, D-Middletown
Rep. Nnamdi O. Chukwuocha, D-Wilmington
Rep. Eric Morrison, D-Glasgow
Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker, D-Wilmington
Rep. Edward S. Osienski, D-Newark
Rep. Kendra Johnson, D-Bear
Rep. Peter C. Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, speaker of the House
Rep. John A. Kowalko, D-Newark
Sen. Marie Pinkney, D-Bear
Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, D-Talleyville
Sen. David P. Sokola, D-Newark, Senate president pro tempore
Sen. Elizabeth Lockman, D-Wilmington, Senate majority whip
Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, Senate majority leader
Sen. Sarah McBride, D-Wilmington