Analysis: Gray To Push Statehood At DNC, Virginia's Voter ID Law Draws Concerns | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Analysis: Gray To Push Statehood At DNC, Virginia's Voter ID Law Draws Concerns

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D.C. pushes statehood ahead of both parties' national conventions. Virginia's Voter ID law is upheld, and an antibiotic-resistant superbug threatens the National Institutes of Health research hospital in Maryland. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney talks about the details of this week's top stories.

McCartney on whether Mayor Gray's push to make D.C.'s statehood an issue at the upcoming conventions will be successful: "I think the main thing he's going to accomplish is, which I don't think he wants to accomplish, is to highlight the return of this old division between activists and politicians, like Gray, who are pushing for full statehood for the District, and those who prefer instead to seek full voting rights in Congress because they think that's somewhat less unrealistic. At the last democratic conventions in 2004 and 2008, the democratic platform only sought equal voting rights. And that was part of an effort to scale back demand from statehood in hopes of actually getting somewhere."

On whether Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton will get a chance to address the Democratic Convention: "Mayor Vince Gray wants D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton to speak at the national conventions, and I suspect she will get that opportunity, but it's all symbolic because there's no way this will all pass Congress, unless there's a Democratic landslide in November, which nobody is expecting."

Some Democrats are expressing concerns over Virginia's new voter ID law... McCartney on whether those fears are justified: "I think they're somewhat justified, but in Virginia, this new law is not as strict in requiring ID as some other laws are around the country. And as a result, it's not generating as much controversy as laws in other states. The main issue is some are requiring a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. In Virginia, you can use those, of course, but you can also use a lot of other kinds of ID, like a utility bill, a paycheck, and a bank statement..."

On NIH's battle with a resistant superbug last year that killed six people, and why it's just now becoming public: "We're just hearing about this now because the National Institutes of Health didn't tell the public - didn't even tell Montgomery County officials that this was happening last year, and NIH said that these deaths from hospital boards are infections that happen all the time, and they were under no obligation to tell anybody, and they also assert there was no risk to the public."

Listen to the full analysis here.

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