Happy Hump Day, Mendelson Post readers! Last night may have seemed like an ordinary Tuesday night at the John A. Wilson Building, but it was home to a special birthday celebration: the 40th anniversary of District home rule!
That’s right, time really does fly when you’re having fun (and democracy!) Unfortunately, the battle for full District voting rights, budget autonomy, and statehood continues to this day. Despite the lack of full representation in our nation’s government, attendees of the celebration took in all the home rule hoopla, looking back on the progress of those before us and all that still needs to be done.
The District of Columbia was granted limited home rule in 1973 when President Nixon signed the DC Home Rule Act, establishing an elected mayor and thirteen member Council for the District. District voters went to the polls in the fall of 1974 to exercise their democratic rights and elect their first Mayor and Council.
Phil joined Mayor Gray and current and former members of the District’s elected and appointed Councils as they reminisced about the progress made over the past four decades in advancing District autonomy and the work ahead for full statehood. A gallery of photographs from the past 100 years were arranged throughout the area, detailing past efforts and victories in the battle for home rule over the century.
It is amazing how far the District has come over the years, but Phil and other speakers reminded those in attendance that the fight for local autonomy is still not over. Hopefully, with the help of District residents, activists, and members of Congress, this blog will be able to report on full statehood for the 51st State of New Columbia!