Guest, John J Forster

Guest Name: 
John J Forster
John J. Forster
Guest Occupation: 
Activities Coordinator for the 'Committee for the Capital City'
Guest Biography: 

John J. Forster is the Activities Coordinator for the group 'Committee for the Capital City'. He is also Co-founder of Initiative DC, which led the successful effort to amend the DC Home Rule Act to provide for the voting rights of initiative, referendum, and recall. John has been a DC resident since 1977.

The 'Committee for the Capital City' was formed in 1995 by civic-minded citizens of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia who are united in their desire to preserve and protect the unique character and beauty of the nation’s capital city while providing full democratic rights to its residents. The membership includes Democrats and Republicans, black and white, young and old, of many different occupations and income levels. They welcome all who would join with in pursuit of political justice and equality for the people of the District of Columbia.

John writes -  in an article written for The Washington Post 'The Other Path To Statehood', 2016:

"Creating a state of the District of Columbia (or whatever name they give it) faces too many obstacles.

Congressional Republicans almost universally oppose the addition of two new senators from the District and would certainly block such a proposal. It is unlikely that legislators from either Maryland or Virginia would ultimately support a new state of the District of Columbia if that state had the power to levy a commuter tax, as it surely would. Politicians from large states might object to the dilution of their Senate power. Likewise, some rural state legislators might object to empowering the District with statehood for what they see as essentially a city. For these reasons, the chance of the District becoming a new state looks remote.

But there is a better way to achieve D.C. statehood.

The other path: join an existing state.

Imagine the District becoming Douglass County, Md. As a new unique jurisdiction in Maryland, the District would honor one of its most famous residents: the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass. And it would retain its unique identity while gaining both full voting rights and full home rule.

Could this approach win the needed support in Congress, Maryland and the District?

Reunion with Maryland probably would gain bipartisan support in Congress because Republicans have demonstrated support for giving D.C. residents voting rights through Maryland-based proposals that would not add two senators. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in Maryland surely would like to gain almost 700,000 new residents who, with their addition, would make Maryland more Democratic, more highly educated and wealthier. (Compared with Maryland, the District has a higher percentage of registered Democrats, a higher percentage of college graduates and a higher per-capita income.)

Once D.C. residents realize that the state of the District of Columbia is a bridge too far, they will support achieving statehood citizenship with Maryland’s help. Voting rights and full home rule are the goals, and both can be achieved by reuniting with Maryland.

There is, of course, a precedent for this. The District was originally created with land ceded from Virginia and Maryland. The Virginia portion was successfully returned to Virginia in 1847 after Virginia voters approved it the prior year.

Douglass County, Md., is the best path to D.C. statehood."

For more information:

Committee for the Capital City
PO Box 77443
Washington, DC 20013-8443
202-265-0200
info@cityhoodfordc.dev