I greatly appreciate Rep. Chellie Pingree’s support of D.C. statehood. Rep. Jared Golden’s, too. I wrote to both of Maine’s senators asking them to support S. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.

Sen. Susan Collins responded stating that she had supported the District of Columbia House Voting Act. This legislation was put forward in 2009, and while it did grant D.C. one voting member of the House (likely a Democrat), it did so by raising the number of House members from 435 to 437, with the second new seat going to Utah, a solidly red state.

Basically, Sen. Collins supported a bill that allowed D.C. voters what they wanted – a voting member of Congress – only as long as that vote wouldn’t make any difference.

Well, voting should make a difference. That’s the point.

That 2009 bill did not pass. It’s no wonder that, after 200 years of unfair treatment, D.C. voters are making an all-out push for statehood. As Maine League of Women Voters Executive Director Anna Kellar’s recent Press Herald op-ed explains, this solves several fundamental problems: the lack of voting representation for D.C. residents in Congress, taxation without representation and lack of control over D.C.’s local budget and laws.

But just as women, in their 75-year struggle for suffrage, needed the votes of men, D.C. residents need the votes of people who do not represent them. That’s why they need us.

I encourage everyone who is fortunate enough to have a representative and two senators to contact them on behalf of our disenfranchised fellow citizens in Washington, D.C.

Alison Smith

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