Mayor: We'll Vote on Making DC a State
She says residents' "rights are stolen" without statehood
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2016 12:29 PM CDT
Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser wants to make DC the nation's 51st state.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser announced plans for a citywide vote in November to make DC the country's 51st state, the Washington Post reports. “We will not stop until we achieve full statehood,” USA Today quotes Bowser as saying Friday. The mayor argues that DC residents' "rights are stolen" because of the zip code where they live. DC has no representation in Congress, yet Congress has final control over the city's budget and recently overruled the city on gun control and marijuana legalization. A poll in November found that nearly 75% of DC residents are "very upset" about having no voice in the national government. Bowser points out they have no vote over how their taxes are spent, who should sit on the Supreme Court, and more.

Muriel wants to follow the same process Tennessee used to move from a federal territory to the country's 16th state. Under that process, DC residents would approve a state constitution, among other things, and Congress would vote on it. However, DCist reports it's unlikely a Republican-led Congress would approve statehood for DC. “Some in Congress say … the reason why DC residents can’t have full access to the franchise is because of too many Democrats,” the Post quotes Bowser as saying. “Do you think access to democracy is a Democratic or Republican issue? No, it’s an American issue.” DC residents previously voted for statehood in 1982, but they were ignored by Congress. Congress' control of DC comes directly from the US Constitution.