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D.C. Officials Make Case for Statehood in New Hampshire

A delegation of local officials and activists spoke in the Granite State today on the subject of D.C. statehood, two weeks after a snowstorm thwarted the group’s first attempt to testify before a New Hampshire House committee.

The trip is the first of many stops around the country, the officials said, to rally support for the creation of “New Columbia.”

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray spoke on behalf of a nonbinding resolution, sponsored by New Hampshire state Rep. Cindy Rosenwald (D), that would express support for making the District of Columbia the 51st state.

“The Framers could not have foreseen that the District would grow to a population greater than Wyoming and, according to the most recent estimates, only about 8,400 fewer than Vermont,” D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh told the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee. “And it is incongruous to think that the Framers, having just fought a war to ensure that there would be no taxation without representation, would enshrine in the Constitution the existence of such a significant population with no representation in Congress.”

“We in the District have spent enough time talking to ourselves about the issue of Statehood. We were convinced long ago. Despite our own certainty, many of our fellow citizens are simply unaware of the District’s plight,” added at-large D.C. Councilmember David Catania, a leader of the delegation, in his remarks before the panel. “It is long past time that we expanded the dialogue regarding statehood. Today marks the start of that conversation.”

The grass-roots effort is designed to garner support among state legislators for the D.C. statehood movement, which could trickle down to influence Members of Congress.

Rosenwald has long been a staunch supporter of the movement. She sponsored an identical nonbinding resolution calling for D.C. statehood in 2008, but a blizzard threatened a quorum from being reached and the measure could not pass.

Gray, Cheh, Catania and others were set to make a return trip to New Hampshire earlier this month, but snow again prompted the state Speaker to cancel the session.

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