WASHINGTON -- We know GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is friendly to the idea of Puerto Rican statehood. How about statehood for the District of Columbia?
A day before the Republican Party's presidential primary in the nation's capital, D.C. Councilmember Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) sent the former Massachusetts governor and GOP frontrunner a letter asking him to clarify his position on "Budget Autonomy, Voting Rights and Statehood for 620,000 American citizens who reside in the District of Columbia."
Here's the letter:
Dear Governor Romney,
I am writing to you about Statehood for the District of Columbia. Before District voters select their Republican nominee on Tuesday, April 3rd, I think it would be worthwhile to understand your current position on Budget Autonomy, Voting Rights and Statehood for 620,000 American citizens who reside in the District of Columbia.
Recently, you expressed support for Puerto Rico to become a state if their residents approved a referendum in November. I remind you that in 1982 and 1987 District voters ratified a State Constitution calling for the state of “New Columbia” and have continued the struggle for representation through numerous legislative attempts in Congress.
As you are aware, the United States Congress has complete control over the legislative and financial affairs of the District of Columbia. They have and will assert this authority while our locally elected Delegate to Congress is denied a vote on the House floor. Unlike Puerto Rico, which pays no federal tax, “Taxation without Representation” continues in the Capital of the free world.
I believe that you and your party support the right of Americans to run their lives without government intrusion or interference. Your website mentions you stand for freedom, opportunity and hope. The 2nd paragraph of our Declaration of Independence speaks explicitly about the government only taking action through the “consent of the governed”. The 21st Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.” The residents of the District of Columbia don’t have the right to give this consent or exercise their will in government because they have been stripped of it.
I invite you to join us in our fight for equality. I encourage you to stand up for Americans who pay the highest federal tax rates in the country, whose sons and daughters have fought and died in every major conflict since the War of Independence, and is home to over 40,000 veterans, whose population is greater than the State of Wyoming and nearly equal with five others by making it clear that if elected President, you will use all the powers of the Executive office to promote Statehood for Americans who reside in the District of Columbia.
I look forward to your response and invite you to visit www.statehooddc.com to learn of this national injustice.
Michael A. Brown
Council of the District of Columbia
In mid-March, Brown sent a similar letter to Republican candidate Rick Santorum, who will not be on the D.C. ballot in Tuesday's primary.