Ocasio-Cortez demands statehood for DC, says residents 'denied right to vote'
‘Squad’ member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday said Washington DC should receive statehood, indicating that the residents there “didn’t have the right to vote”. The Democratic Congresswoman from New York, who took office in January, thereby became the latest to call for DC to become the 51st state as the House mulled a bill on the subject.
The 29-year-old leader said DC was the first territory in the US to free the enslaved. It’s where the black Americans fled the tyranny of slavery towards freedom but yet second citizenship reigns there and the voting right is denied. A report in the Fox News, however, sought to clarify Ocasio-Cortez’s remark. It said the citizens in Washington DC already have the right to vote and it appeared that the Democrat was complaining that DC Congress leaders can’t vote in the House and DC residents do not have any representation in the Senate.
"The people who fled here to the District of Columbia to flee slavery because of the enlightenment of this community are now disenfranchised because of that very act," The Washington Post reported Ocasio-Cortez as saying during a DC statehood hearing.
Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib, also a member of the ‘Squad’, backed Ocasio-Cortez’s demand to make DC a state. She said she wanted to exhibit her support for the cause with a 51-star flag for her office.
The Democrats on Thursday advocated for DC to become a new state in their first hearing on DC statehood in over 25 years. They said that a city with over 700,000 residents - more than Vermont and Wyoming - would have no voting right in the Congress. The Republicans, on the other hand, opposed the idea on the grounds of financial instability and local corruption.
The hearing dealt with Norton's DC statehood bill- HR 51 - which has 216 voting co-sponsors at the moment, besides endorsements of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.