Dear Chairman Cummings and Ranking Member Jordan,
I write today to express the George Washington University's full support of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. As you know, the bill would admit much of present-day Washington, D.C., into the union as a new state.
I am grateful to the District's elected officials, particularly Congresswoman Norton and Mayor Muriel Bowser, for their tireless advocacy for D.C. statehood. In addition to the hardships District residents face due to their lack of federal representation, the issue also negatively impacts faculty members and researchers at D.C. universities and, as a result, research and innovation that has the potential to benefit society.
Colleges and universities rely on their members of Congress to advocate on their behalf and to help them navigate the complex federal research grant process. Unfortunately, faculty members and researchers at institutions of higher education located in Washington, D.C., lack any representation in the Senate and have a non-voting member in the House of Representatives.
Universities are incredible hubs for discovery, innovation and research, addressing seemingly intractable problems and creating new knowledge to improve the wellbeing of all Americans. We have long been crucial partners with the government in this work. However, our lack of representation at the federal level stifles this progress and our ability to contribute solutions to our country's most significant challenges.
I hope that you will contemplate these consequences as you consider H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, at your scheduled hearing later this week.
Thomas J. LeBlanc