D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently explained her strategy for the District to become the 51st state.
At a news conference on Sept. 25 after Bowser (D) spoke to a group of third graders at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Southeast about D.C. statehood, the mayor talked of the next steps for the movement.
“There will be a markup in the House Oversight and Reform Committee,” she said. The committee held a historic meeting on Sept. 19 on D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (D) bill that would make the District a state.
When asked by The Informer what actions her administration will undertake to inform Americans about D.C. statehood, she said “we want this to become a national issue.”
“D.C. statehood has become a top 5 trend on Twitter,” Bowser said. “We are carrying our message nationally and we have contacted every member of Congress on this. We want to become a part of the national conversation. The [Democratic] candidates for president are also talking about D.C. becoming a state.”
Bowser has a D.C. statehood team led by senior adviser Beverly Perry that has worked with national organization and state legislators around the country to push the issue. The mayor’s team works with local statehood organizations and Norton as a part of the effort, too.
Bowser’s interaction with the students at the elementary school seemed to fuel her passion for statehood. The mayor listened raptly as the young people told her what they have learned about the District’s status as a city where its residents pay federal taxes but have no representation in the U.S. Congress and limited control over its budget and legislative affairs.
The students then held their own “news conference” and for 30 minutes peppered Bowser with questions such as whether she likes her job and what she does when she is off. One student asked an intriguing question on whether she planned to run for president someday.
“I have the best job in D.C. because I get to be the mayor,” she said with a smile on her face.