America could have a new state called New Columbia by this time next year if voters in Washington, DC, choose statehood this fall and Congress allows it. The name—first chosen during a statehood bid in 1982—was approved this week by a statehood commission that included Mayor Muriel Bowser and Paul Strauss, who is one of DC's two "shadow senators," reports the Washington Post. Strauss admitted that he isn't a "super fan" of the name. "We decided to keep what had been part of the statehood legacy since 1982," he said. "If the voters of the new state want to change it, that's going to be a great thing they can do as a free state."
Runner-up names at the 1982 statehood convention included Potomac, Anacostia, Capital State, and the State of Utopia. The Washingtonian reports that at the statehood commission meeting this week, there was applause when DC resident Travis Swanson said the US has "sugarcoated the history of Christopher Columbus" and he doesn't deserve to be honored with a star on the American flag. Swanson suggested the state name "Douglass Commonwealth," which would honor anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass and allow DC to remain DC. (President Obama says he supports DC statehood.)