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Norton Wants Local Control Of D.C. National Guard

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Norton says that D.C.'s mayor should have the same control over the National Guard that the governors of the 50 states do.
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Norton says that D.C.'s mayor should have the same control over the National Guard that the governors of the 50 states do.

With hurricane season approaching, D.C.'s Delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton says it's time to give the District's local leaders the ability to call up the National Guard during an emergency.

In D.C., the President of the United States decides when the Guard should be mobilized and deployed, while in the 50 states, the governors have that responsibility. Norton wants that to change, and is introducing a bill to give D.C.'s mayor the ability to call up the D.C. National Guard during a natural disaster.

Norton says it does no harm to give the mayor this authority during a natural disaster or neighborhood disturbance—but it could hurt city residents to leave the mayor powerless to act quickly.

"If it makes sense that governors would have control over the mobilization and deployment of their National Guard, it makes equal sense for the mayor of the District of Columbia, with a population the size of a small state, to have the same authority," she said.

Norton says her bill would only allow the mayor to deploy the National Guard during emergencies unrelated to homeland security. The president, she says, will still have final say over federal matters.

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