The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this month on whether to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state. The proposal is not a capital idea, and would be unfair to the state of the rest of the union.
Walter Fauntroy, the district's non-voting delegate to Congress, argues that statehood would give better representation to its 650,000 residents. He said, "I represent more people who pay taxes in this country than any single other member of the House of Representatives, yet I cannot vote."Fauntroy is correct that district residents deserve more representation in Congress. But making the district a state would be overkill, and would then over represent its citizens.
For example, it would have two senators and at least one representative. But the only states smaller than it in population would be Alaska, Delaware, Vermont and Wyoming. The District of Columbia should not suddenly be given better representation than the 46 larger states.
To be fair in that case, Salt Lake County with its 700,000 residents, or 50,000 more than Washington should be given two senators and a congressman too.
A better idea on how to solve representation problems was defeated three years ago. A constitutional amendment was sent to the states in 1978 to give Washington voting representation in Congress, but not as a state. However, it expired in 1985, 18 states short of the 36 required for passage.
district area came. District residents would then vote for and be represented by Maryland's congressmen.
Fauntroy says that would be unconstitutional because Congress cannot order state boundary changes without a state's consent. But he ignores that already happened once in 1846 when Congress gave Virginia back the original portion of the District of Columbia south of the Potomac because it had not developed as hoped.
Don't make the District of Columbia a state. Giving residents better representation in Congress would be better handled by giving its present delegate a vote or by returning the area to Maryland.