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D.C. Residents To Complain To Md. Congressman About Potholes, Schools

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Want a pothole filled? A D.C. voting rights advocacy organization wants residents to take their complaints and demands to Congress on Thursday.
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Want a pothole filled? A D.C. voting rights advocacy organization wants residents to take their complaints and demands to Congress on Thursday.

Rep. Andy Harris, the Maryland congressman behind the effort to block D.C.’s new marijuana decriminalization law, may soon be hearing from city residents about more than just pot — potholes, in fact.

If Harris wants to act like a D.C. Council member, he should be treated like one — that’s the message behind D.C. Vote’s Andy Harris Constituent Service Day. From contested parking tickets and rat issues to building permits and potholes, the D.C. voting rights advocacy group says bring your problems to Harris’ Capitol Hill office on Thursday.

Harris, who represents Ocean City and other parts of the Eastern Shore, introduced a budget amendment in Congress to prohibit D.C. from implementing its marijuana decriminalization law. The new law, which drops the penalty for the possession of less than one ounce of pot to a $25 ticket, went into effect last week.

In an interview with WAMU 88.5, Harris said that the Constitution allowed him and any other member of Congress to legislate for the federal city. "If they're in the federal enclave, then Congress is their local legislature," he said of D.C. residents.

The move led to a war of words between Harris and city officials, who accuse the congressman of meddling in local affairs. The mayor and D.C. Vote even called for D.C. residents to boycott Eastern shore vacation spots.

But now it looks like activists are trying a different tack: Instead of complaining about Harris, they want residents to take their complaints to him. This won't be the first time that residents take pedestrian concerns to the Hill: In 2012, they targeted an Arizona Republican who had introduced a bill to ban abortions in D.C. after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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