Washington D.C. passes referendum to become 51st state

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Could “New Columbia” become our nation’s 51st state?

The nation’s capital has long pushed for statehood, and 2016 was no different. Advisory Referendum B expressed the will of voters of DC for the city council to petition Congress to make DC its own state, called “the State of New Columbia.”

DC residents gave a resounding “yes” to the plan, with 79 percent of voters approving the measure, which would split the district into the new state and a small federal district in the middle for government buildings and monuments.

The measure had four parts:

  • Agree that the District should be admitted to the Union as the State of New Columbia
  • Approve the new state’s boundaries
  • Approve a State Constitution to be adopted by the Council
  • Agree that the State of New Columbia shall guarantee an elected representative form of government

The petition now moves to Congress, which has can approve or deny the initiative.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser told the Washington Post she would waste no time in delivering the petition for statehood to congressional leaders by Inauguration Day.

“This is what I’ve heard from D.C. residents all over the city. … They want to be treated like every American. They want two senators,” Bowser said. “We need equality, and the only way to get there is with statehood.”

The proposed 51st state would grant residents full congressional representation under a new state Constitution, which will be written per the referendum.

“We pay federal taxes like we’re a state. We need to see some of the benefits of being a state,” Bowser added. “We’ve been trying for a long time, and we’ll keep on trying.”