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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (District of Columbia)

Oct 28, 2020

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement today regarding a Republican House Member’s leadership on District of Columbia statehood before the District won home rule, after recently receiving a copy of the Congressional Record from June 16, 1971. D.C. resident Nelson F. Rimensnyder, who was on the staff of the Committee on the District of Columbia from 1975 to 1992, sent Norton a copy of the Congressional Record.

“As we work for passage in the Senate of our D.C. statehood bill, we want to remind the country of a major D.C. statehood bill that was introduced not by a Democrat, but by a Republican, Rep. Fred Schwengel (R-IA), in 1971, long before I was elected to Congress. Rep. Schwengel began by introducing bills providing various versions of home rule. However, he moved to D.C. statehood after concluding that his home rule bills ‘would only extend and not fully grant the rights of citizenship to those so entitled in the District.’ It is noteworthy that Rep. Schwengel’s statehood bill was introduced before the District got home rule in 1973 and when the District outnumbered 11 states in population.

“D.C. residents, Democrats and Republicans alike, should acknowledge the Republican who led the way to where we are today with House passage of the D.C. statehood bill. I am grateful to Nelson F. Rimensnyder for sending me the Congressional Record for June 16, 1971, which contained Rep. Schwengel’s statement on the introduction of his statehood bill.”