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New D.C. Mayor: We 'Deserve Full Democracy and Statehood'

The issue of D.C. statehood re-entered the public debate Sunday, with the new mayor of D.C. declaring the need for a “new path” for the district.

The issue of statehood for the nation’s capital re-entered the public debate Sunday morning, with the mayor of Washington, D.C. declaring the need for a “new path” for the district. “The residents of Washington, D.C. deserve full democracy and statehood,” newly elected Mayor Muriel Bowser said in an appearance on Meet the Press.

When pressed by host Chuck Todd on whether she would accept being part of Maryland, Bowser was firm, “We are Washington, D.C., Chuck, and the residents of the District of Columbia really want to forge a new path towards statehood." She said, “We can start with budget autonomy, unhooking our government from the federal government.”

She also indicated statehood would remove any talk of the district filing a lawsuit against Congress for blocking voter approved legislation to allow for recreational use of marijuana. The mayor did not expressly say what direction Washington, D.C. would take in the matter. Congress upheld the decriminalization of marijuana under Issue 71 passed in November, but did not uphold the recreational use portion of the issue.

Bowser appeared in a segment highlighting the women that run Washington, D.C. She was joined by School Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

Henderson cited the success of the school district in achieving some reform goals. “Student satisfaction is at an all-time high, our test scores are rising more rapidly than other places, we have satisfied teachers,” Henderson said. “And most importantly, families are choosing [D.C. public schools] after forty years of decline.” She also claimed three consecutive years of “radical” gains of students moving from private or charter schools back to the school district.

Reforms in policing were also discussed, with Lanier touting the work of the district’s police force in working with the community. “I think it’s really about building those relationships with the community,” said Lanier. “You have to do it every single day, you can’t do it in crisis.”

Dale Armbruster