February 26, 2009
Statement by Randi Weingarten, President,
American Federation of Teachers,
On Passage of D.C. Voting Rights Act
With the passage of S. 160, the U.S. Senate today voted to give the District of Columbia full voting rights in the U.S. House of Representatives.
WASHINGTON—Today the people of the District of Columbia are one step closer to gaining full representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate passage of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act is a big step toward correcting a long-standing injustice to the nearly 600,000 residents of the district, who do not have a voting representative in either chamber of Congress. We applaud the Senate leadership's action to right this wrong, and encourage the House to move swiftly in passing this legislation.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has been a consistent and effective voice in Congress on behalf of the citizens of Washington, D.C. We look forward to the day when her voice will be enhanced by the power of a vote.
The citizens of the District of Columbia have paid their taxes, served on juries and enlisted in the military, but they have been denied a basic pillar of democracy-a voting representative in Congress. We hope that, one day very soon, the rallying cry of "no taxation without representation" will have served its purpose, as district residents finally gain full representation in Congress.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.