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New Hampshire Legislator Makes Case For D.C. Statehood

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The New Hampshire state legislature is considering a bill that would express support for D.C. statehood.
Holley St. Germain (http://www.flickr.com/photos/stgermh/565664120/)
  The New Hampshire state legislature is considering a bill that would express support for D.C. statehood.

Republican presidential hopefuls have left New Hampshire, but now some of the District's local politicians are planning a trip there to testify before the New Hampshire state legislature.

Lawmakers in New Hampshire are considering a measure that would express their support for the District becoming the 51st state. If the non-binding resolution passes, New Hampshire would be the first legislature to express its support for D.C. statehood. 

So why is the Granite State doing this now? As Cindy Rosenwald, Democratic member of the New Hampshire House, puts it, "Why not now?"

Rosenwald met D.C. Council member David Catania at a conference and he explained the District doesn't have a full vote in Congress. Then she did some research. 

"I realized that the District of Columbia is the size of Vermont and, in fact, is half the size of New Hampshire," she says. "I could not imagine disenfranchising half of New Hampshire s population or all of Vermont. It doesn’t seem fair."

Since then, says D.C. Mayor Vince Gray, Rosenwald has been a good friend to the District.

Gray and some council members expected to head New Hampshire this week to support the New Hampshire bill, but had to postpone their trip because of snow. 

This is the start of a plan to convince state legislatures across the country to support D.C., which Gray and D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown launched last fall. "We hope to be able to start the process in a systematic way of educating people in the other states about the plight of the people in the city," Gray says. 

It makes sense to Rosenwald to start in her state given that New Hampshire and D.C. have very memorable license plates. The District's, of course, bears the slogan "Taxation Without Representation." 

"Your license plate ranks up there with New Hampshire's "Live Free Or Die," in terms of really pithy statements," says Rosenwald. 

The New Hampshire legislature is dominated by Republicans, meaning the bill to support D.C. statehood could face an uphill battle. But Rosenwald says she'll try to appeal to their mistrust of government. After all, she says, the District is nothing if not subject to the long arm of federal power. 

David is a journalism graduate student at American University, and WAMU is licensed to American University.

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