Who Governs Washington DC? - An Expert's Perspective

Learn about who governs Washington D.C., its legislature & judicial system & how self-governance initiatives have allowed residents to govern their local affairs.

Who Governs Washington DC? - An Expert's Perspective

The self-government of the District of Columbia is the capacity of its residents to govern their local affairs. As the federal capital, the United States Congress has exclusive jurisdiction over the District in all cases. Washington, D. C.

is located on the east bank of the Potomac River, which forms its southwestern border with Virginia, and is bordered by Maryland to the north and east. The city was named after George Washington, one of the founding fathers, general commanding the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War and the first president of the United States, and the district is named after Columbia, the female personification of the nation. The city is home to all three U. S. branches: The federal government, Congress (legislative), President (executive) and Supreme Court (judicial), and the government buildings that house most of the federal government, including the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court building, and several federal departments and agencies. The city is home to many national monuments and museums, located primarily on or around the National Mall, including the Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Washington Monument.

It is also home to 177 foreign embassies and serves as headquarters for many international organizations such as AARP, United States Red Cross, Atlantic Council, Brookings Institution, National Geographic Society, The Heritage Foundation, Wilson Center and others. In addition, many important industry associations, non-profit organizations and think tanks are headquartered in Washington DC. The District of Columbia Council serves as DC's legislature. All members of the Council are elected on a partisan basis with two seats reserved for members who are not from the majority party. Of the 13 members of the Council, four are elected overall as is the President and eight are elected from each of eight districts in DC.

The Council approves laws and has power to create, abolish or organize any agency of DC. The body is unicameral like Nebraska Legislature which has 49 members - smallest in US - while New Hampshire Legislature with 425 members is largest. If DC were to become a state it would win a member of House of Representatives and two new senators - likely Democrats - which is one of main reasons why House and Senate Republicans oppose statehood. The land of new state would be all current land of Washington DC including White House and buildings/monuments that surround National Mall. There are some community/specialized newspapers that focus on cultural/neighborhood issues such as weekly Washington Blade/Metro Weekly that focus on LGBT issues; Washington Informer/Washington Afro American that highlight issues of interest to black community; neighborhood newspapers published by The Current Newspapers. The unsuccessful statehood amendment effort of 1979 reflected an attempt by Congress to grant Washington residents certain attributes of statehood (representation in Congress) without actually turning DC into a state. Judges of DC Court of Appeals/DC Superior Court are appointed by President US while FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park hosts annual Washington Open (Mubadala Citi DC Open). District's four NCAA Division I teams are American Eagles (American University), George Washington Colonials (George Washington University), Georgetown Hoyas (Georgetown University) and Howard Bison/Lady Bison (Howard University).Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates Washington Metro - city's rapid transit rail system - while DC Circulator operates through public-private partnership between District of Columbia Department of Transportation, WMATA & DC Surface Transit Inc. Members of Commission are appointed by President US, Mayor DC, Council DC, Chief Judge US District Court & DC Bar Association.

While it might be appropriate for Congress to repeal 23rd Amendment once most of DC becomes a state - existence of amendment in no way precludes admitting DC as new state. Washington Commanders have played soccer in Washington area as part of NFL since 1937 when team moved to city from Boston. The statement that Washington DC Admissions Act is somehow different in political process or effect is not true. The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts houses National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera & Washington Ballet while NBA's Washington Wizards moved to area from Baltimore in 1973 although they continued to play in Baltimore regularly in early days. Exclusion of Washington residents from voice in Congress contributes to underrepresentation of voters color in American political system while local government oversees Washington Metropolitan Police Department & Washington National Guard reports to President. The process for granting self-governance to residents of Washington D. has been a long one. Despite being home to all three branches of U.

government - legislative, executive and judicial - residents have been denied representation in Congress for decades due to their lack of statehood status. This has led to an underrepresentation of voters from minority backgrounds in American politics. In 1979 an amendment was proposed that would grant certain attributes associated with statehood without actually making D. a state. This failed but it did not stop efforts for self-governance from continuing. Today D.

C.'s legislature is made up of 13 members elected on a partisan basis with two seats reserved for members who are not from the majority party. Four members are elected overall as is the President while eight are elected from each district within D. C. The Council approves laws and has power to create or abolish any agency within D.

C.In addition to its legislature D. C.'s judicial system consists of judges appointed by President U. S., Mayor D. C., Council D.

C., Chief Judge U. S District Court & D. C Bar Association. Sports teams such as NBA's Washington Wizards have been based in D. C since 1973 while FitzGerald Tennis Center hosts annual tournaments such as Mubadala Citi D.

C Open each year. Community newspapers such as The Current Newspapers focus on cultural/neighborhood issues while national monuments such as Jefferson Memorial & Lincoln Memorial attract visitors from around the world. Finally there are many international organizations based in D. C., such as AARP & United States Red Cross which serve as headquarters for many important industry associations & non-profit organizations. In conclusion it is clear that despite not having full representation in Congress yet residents have been able to govern their local affairs through self-governance initiatives such as their legislature & judicial system.

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