DC’s mayor speaks out against congressional filibuster at voting rights rally

D.C.’s mayor is weighing in on the landmark voting rights bill that is expected to reach the Senate Tuesday.

Mayor Muriel Bowser used her time at the podium — alongside the family of Martin Luther King Jr., Democratic leaders and civil rights activists — to bring attention to D.C. residents’ inability to elect their own voting members of Congress.

“The plight of Washington, D.C., is the same plight that millions more Americans could find themselves in if we don’t pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Cut out from the democratic process and treated as second-class citizens, you will be expected to pay taxes, you will be expected to serve in the military, and you will be expected to follow the rules set by the Congress,” Bowser said at the event at Union Station.

The Deliver for Voting Rights campaign — led by Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King and over 180 groups — held a news conference on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to call for no celebration without legislation, and to urge President Joe Biden and the Senate to eliminate the filibuster for voting rights ahead of the expected Senate vote.

“We cannot advance our democracy or build stronger communities if Americans do not have a say, when decisions are being made and how funds are being distributed. So, we’re speaking up for voting rights, but also speaking up for the 700,000 people here, who don’t have a vote in their own Congress, in their own city,” Bowser said.

Other speakers, like Virginia Kase Solomon, with the League of Women Voters, spoke directly to the Democrats unwilling to sponsor the voting rights bill.

“We ask you to join us and change your mind,” Kase Solomon said. “And that is why we take this day, a day that honors the legacy of Dr. King and of all the freedom fighters who came before him, not just to mark how far we’ve come, but to rally and to lift our voices, to commit ourselves anew to the fight for democracy. And this includes the fight for D.C. statehood, which is a civil rights issue, which cannot be separated from the fight for democracy and voting rights.”

Bowser announced in November that she is seeking another term as mayor.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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