Norton shares legislative updates, personal opinions with Chevy Chase ANC

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Eleanor Holmes Norton is the District's non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. (photo courtesy of Eleanor Holmes Norton)

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton told the Chevy Chase Advisory Neighborhood Commission, ANC3/4G, that proponents of turning over tiny National Parks in the District — such as Dupont Circle — will not be successful.             

If Congress turned Dupont Circle over to the District, some western states might likely make an effort to take over some of the major parks in their areas.  “Once you give one up, you’ll have to give others away,” she said. “We can’t have our cake and eat it too.”     

A bill Norton has proposed would allow the District and states, as well as private investors, to make investments in National Parks to rehabilitate them with the approval of the National Park Service. This would allow the District to restore some of the smaller parks in the city that are badly in need of help.     

The Congresswoman has lined up 197 co-sponsors of HR (House Resolution) 51 to make the District the 51st state. Among them is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called it “a critical step in righting a wrong.” There will soon be hearings on the bill in the House, though she withholds her optimism that the bill would then be approved by the Senate.   

“We don’t even have full Home Rule,” she said. “We ought to have our own D.A. (District Attorney). The Virgin Islands, a territory, can call out the National Guard should there be a serious problem, she added, reminding those in attendance that the District cannot. 

”We’re the only jurisdiction that cannot pay for abortions for low-income women,” she added, while listing concerns.

She said she expects a bill to pass to transfer RFK Stadium, which she said has been lying fallow for years, from federal control to the District — for whatever use DC choose.     

Norton does not expect proposed legislation to end government shutdowns to pass, as many Democrats fear that when Republicans have control of Congress and the White House they may pass continuing resolutions and refuse to allow new spending priorities. 

She told commissioners and the audience that she was very happy that the House of Representatives, even with a Republican majority in recent years, could not get any of seven proposed bills to eliminate or alter the District’s gun laws out of the Rules Committee last year.

She also said that with the Democratic takeover of the House, she is pleased to once again be allowed to vote in committees where she serves, including the Committee of the Whole, though not on the floor of the House, as she does not represent a state. The Republicans, she added, had taken that right away from her when they were in the House majority.