A 51st State Is Not the Answer

January 29, 2021
Weekly Column

Over the last several years, there’s been a lot of discussion about making our nation’s capital city the 51st state in the union. I think that’s a bad idea, but it’s supported by many for a few reasons.

Some support statehood for Washington, D.C., because they want to expand Democratic control of the United States Senate. I’m opposed to that kind of a political power grab.

Others support statehood for a different, more legitimate reason, saying D.C. residents deserve voting representation in the U.S. House and Senate. We all know the saying, “taxation without representation,” and while capital residents are represented with three electoral college votes, they do not get representation in the Senate. I do think that’s unfair, but I don’t think adding a new state is the answer.

D.C. is 68 square miles – that includes both land mass and water. It’s 95% smaller than our nation’s smallest state, Rhode Island. You could fit 1,130 D.C.’s inside the state of South Dakota. Let’s be honest: DC isn’t a state. It’s a city.

So, is there a compromise to ensure D.C. residents have representation in Congress? Yes.

My bill, the D.C.-Maryland Reunion Act, would merge the suburbs of D.C. with the surrounding state of Maryland – providing congressional representation to those residents without adding a 51st state. The Capitol building and White House “mall” area would remain the District of Columbia and there would no longer be a need for electoral votes in the district since residents would become Maryland voters.

The idea has gotten some pushback from politicians in favor of D.C. statehood. But if we’re being honest, if this idea wasn’t about power and truly focused on providing representation to voters, then those same politicians would support my bill.