“ But when Sen. Goldwater and I discussed representation for D.C., we believed these issues simply did not outweigh the residents’ most basic rights as Americans.
D.C., then as now, had no voting representation in the House or Senate. Most D.C. residents, then as now, were people of color. Congress also, then as now, could override their local laws and budgets. That struck us both as wrong, and Goldwater thought that, in 1978, fixing it was overdue.
Goldwater was one of 19 Republican senators who voted for equal D.C. representation that year, ranging from moderates like Howard Baker to conservatives like Strom Thurmond.
Sen. Baker said “we simply cannot continue to deny 700,000 American citizens their right to equal representation in the national government,” while Sen. Thurmond explained “the residents of the District of Columbia deserve the right to representation in congress if for no other reason than simple fairness.”
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