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"Do we as a nation want to continue the disenfranchisement of the approximately 702,000 Americans who currently reside in Washington, D.C.," asks Gerald E. Connolly.

Statehood for D.C.: Are we truly a democratic republic?

Connolly is a Democrat in his sixth term representing some of the Virginia suburbs of Washington in the House of Representatives.

For the first time in more than two decades, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing last month to examine the potential admission of Washington, D.C., as our 51st state. But at its core, I believe that hearing examined whether we are truly a democratic republic.

Do we as a nation want to continue the disenfranchisement of the approximately 702,000 Americans who currently reside in Washington, D.C.? Are we okay with denying our neighbors the same rights as other U.S. citizens because they live on land suitable to a dinner table compromise between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton regarding the location of our nation's capital? Our Founding Fathers denied many Americans the right to vote, but through centuries of effort this nation has worked to reverse its narrow view of the franchise — except in the nation's capital. I, for one, believe it is past time for us to act on this moral imperative. Others, unfortunately, do not.

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