(Washington, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray made the following statement today in observance of the 50th anniversary of ratification of the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution, which gave DC residents the right to vote in presidential elections:
“Fifty years after the residents of the District of Columbia received the right to vote for the President of the United States, it’s unfortunate that we are still fighting for full democracy, autonomy and a vote in Congress.
“The Senate is back this week after a recess and, regrettably, some are pushing that body to chip away at even more District rights -- as the House also is seeking to do.
“No other US jurisdiction is barred from spending its own taxpayer-raised funds as it sees fit. However, the House has passed a continuing resolution that includes harmful anti-home-rule amendments that ban the District from using local funds on needle-exchange programs to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and for abortions for needy women. The school voucher programs also would be re-established against the will of the city -- a move that is unnecessary, as our traditional public schools are improving and charter schools are providing citywide choice.
“We hope the Senate will counter these regressive and draconian measures and allow the city to govern itself.
“DC Vote and the DC Voting Rights Coalition dubbed today ‘Don’t Tread on DC’ day. I join them in urging our friends in Congress to help us keep the rights and autonomy we have and work with the District to bring full democracy to the 600,000 residents of the nation’s capital.”