Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Voting in D.C.

I've only lived in the District for a little over a year, and I did not get registered in time for the Democratic primary (bad me!). Unfortunately, that's when most of the real decisions are made, since the city is majority Democrat.

However, I still plan on voting on Election Day because there's an interesting race for my ward's seat on the City Council between a Democrat and an Independent who is running without a party because he failed to file on time for the Democratic primary. I have not made up my mind yet between these two or the Republican, who may end up getting my vote regardless of whether or not he has any chance of winning.

But the question not on the ballot is the one I am most interested in: How can we get the District represented in Congress?

We have the weirdest "races" for Shadow Senator and Shadow Representative. I SWEAR. I did not make that up. I guess it's who we would choose if theoretically we had a choice.

What I don't understand is the opposition to getting D.C. represented in Congress. It's obvious on the streets why it's a problem: Without an advocate setting aside earmarks in Congress, the District lacks the pork money that goes home with the Representatives and Senators when they leave town after session.

Is there any feeling out there in the "country" about why the District shouldn't be represented in Congress? I'm honestly interested in any and all opinions. I'm not educated enough about all sides of the issue, but I can see now why it's important, especially after moving from a district represented on the House Appropriations Committee.

I think I'm going to try to find out more about this organization and what I can do to change the situation.


Anonymous sprite said...

Actually, I believe that the shadow representation positions are supposed to be unpaid lobbying positions. (Although you are correct in that those originally elected to those positions were intended to hold the official offices were they permitted to do so.)

Paid D.C. officials are not allowed to lobby to get us representation, so we have to resort to electing unpaid people to do so on our behalf.

I actually think that budget autonomy is a more pressing issue than congressional representation. D.C. is at risk without that autonomy -- Congress is free to enact laws upon us and we have to go along with them because they control a portion of our budget.

And on the local D.C. politics level, don't forget that certain spots are reserved for the general election -- school board president, board of ed members, and one of the two seats on the city council that are reserved for non-majority party. Sure, I think that David Catania will likely sweep the spot, but still....

11:18 AM  
Anonymous drlaura said...

interesting questions re voting in DC.
if someone in the "other" wa
can help, i will

10:24 PM  
Blogger Ginny said...

Thanks for your vote, L!

Sprite, I appreciate your perspective on the DC voting situation too. You're right about the budget autonomy. I hadn't even thought about that.

And I want to do more research about the school board election, too. That's another elected body that could use some work, based on the situation with public schools around here.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Ang W. said...

I do remember why they were not represented in the first place. It was so they would not be favored above other places.

11:06 AM  

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