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Statehood bid ‘tougher’ with Republican president, DC councilman says

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, joined by, from left, D.C. City Council member Jack Evans, Uprising Muffin Company owner Donnie Simpson, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., pauses during a stop at the store in D.C., Friday, June 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — D.C. Council member Jack Evans said that having a Democratic president will be a smoother road to statehood than a Republican presidency.

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser cast 39 of the District’s 44 votes for Hillary Clinton.

“The next president of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton will sign our admission into the United States of America as the 51st state,” Bowser said.

Evans said that he has a vision and Bowser has done a great job keeping the issue of statehood on the forefront.

“We have a constitution written up, so as soon as Hillary becomes president, we’ll be in a position to have a bill for Congress to look at, for her to look at,” Evans said.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments on statehood were that he would do his best for the citizens of the District of Columbia, Evans said.

But Evans said that he believes that it would be a tougher fight with Trump because “the Republicans are clearly very adamant against” statehood. “It would be a tougher sell,” Evans said.

Evans, the longest-serving lawmaker in the council elected in 1991, said that Clinton’s support goes back to 1992 with her husband President Bill Clinton, who also supported D.C. statehood.

“It was a tough time in the District of Columbia in 1992 because our economy was a wreck,” he said.

Another alternative to statehood Evans is hoping for is a Democratic sweep in the Senate and the House of Representatives. “That will be helpful to us in advancing our agenda,” Evans said.

“We are 670,000 taxpaying Americans, just like you. And with statehood — and only with statehood — will we have the votes in Congress just like you,” Bowser said, as she cast the District’s vote in Philadelphia.

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli contributed to this report.

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