Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton called for making the nation’s capital the country’s 51st state on Wednesday, promising to be a “vocal champion” for D.C. statehood. She blasted presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for failing to say whether D.C. residents should have the same voting rights as other Americans. “In the case of our nation’s capital, we have an entire populace that is routinely denied a voice in its own democracy. . . . Washingtonians serve in the military, serve on juries, and pay taxes just like everyone else. And yet, they don’t even have a vote in Congress,” Clinton wrote in an op-ed published in the Washington Informer, an African American weekly newspaper.
Clinton’s piece comes about four weeks before D.C. residents go to the polls in the city’s presidential primary.
The former secretary of state has voiced support for D.C. statehood in the past, and so has Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), who last year signed on as co-sponsor of a bill to make the District a state.
But Clinton on Wednesday for the first time framed it as a presidential election-year issue and one that could fuel partisan debate into November.