WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has taken her case for statehood to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and she says she’s finding delegates thirsty for information about the effort.
“A lot of people don’t know that the residents of their nation’s capital, unlike any capital in the world, are denied a vote in the United States Congress,” Bowser said in a phone call from Cleveland.
Republicans are mindful that making overwhelmingly Democratic D.C. a state would likely add two Democrats to the United States Senate, but Bowser points out that Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence spoke in favor of D.C. voting rights in 2007 when he was a congressman.
“He stood in opposition to many of his Republican colleagues at a time when there was a vote for the D.C. Voting Rights Bill,” Bowser said.
And while many Republicans have opposed DC statehood in the past, the mayor said she believes the GOP ought to be receptive to the idea because it’s “the party that values states’ rights and local control.”
D.C. voters will have their say in November in a ballot referendum which asks whether they support carving out a new state while preserving a federal district that would encompass the National Mall, the White House and other federal buildings.
Bowser said she hopes to place D.C. statehood center stage next year.
“It is our intention to present to the new Congress and the new president a petition for statehood,” Bowser said.