Flags bearing 51 stars line Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest to bring attention to the push to make District of Columbia the 51st state in the Union. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

Two days before the historic House hearing on statehood for the District of Columbia on Sept. 19, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced Tuesday that several major businesses and employers have endorsed the Washington, D.C. Admission Act (H.R. 51).

The businesses include some of the key employers and employer organizations in the District: The Federal City Council, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the D.C. Hospital Association, the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, the District of Columbia Building Industry Association, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C.

Norton will place in the record at Thursday’s hearing endorsements not only from the business community, but from many national and local organizations.

“Beyond the veterans and residents living in the District who have fought for D.C. statehood for some time, our thriving business community understands well the benefits of statehood,” Norton said. “These endorsements could not be clearer: there is a clear economic case for statehood in allowing our economy to grow and to attract new employers and revenue.”

In their statement, the businesses write: “There is a clear economic and business case for statehood. It would allow the region to better represent its large federal workforce and secure critically important funding for transportation systems like Metro. A voting DC Congressional delegation would have more input on Congressional legislation that impacts the local economy and the city’s large tracts of federally owned land. Statehood would also make the city a more attractive place to live and do business.”

The letter also states, “as a state, the District of Columbia would have a more balanced and constructive partnership with the federal government, which controls a huge portion of its land … With a voting DC Congressional representative, federal land in the nation’s capital could be improved to the entire country’s benefit. DC could work more quickly and productively with, for example, the National Park Service and the General Services Administration. The bottom line is that there is a clear economic and business case for DC statehood.”

Signers of the letter include: Anthony Williams, CEO/Executive Director Federal City Council; Jacqueline D. Bowens, President/CEO DC Hospital Association; John C. Cavanaugh, President/CEO Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area; Kathy E. Hollinger, President/CEO Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington; Peggy Jeffers, Executive Vice President Apartment & Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington; Lisa María Mallory, CEO District of Columbia Building Industry Association; Jack McDougle, CEO Greater Washington Board of Trade; and Vincent Orange, President/CEO DC Chamber of Commerce.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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