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From the Publisher's Desk...

“District Residents to Republicans in Congress: ‘DC is Not Your District’”

The title we are using in our commentary this month is not ours. We have taken this directly from a press release received a day prior to when we were to decide what our topic was to be. We were so impressed with what we read, and even more so upon speaking with one of the key persons behind the message quoted above, that we decided this is much too newsworthy –- and important –- not to share with our readers and urge them to share with others of their acquaintance in Congressional districts where voters have sent to Congress the worst of the worst.

Led by DC native and Capitol Hill resident Justin Robinson, a typical non-government, hardworking employed District taxpayer who is simply fed up by how he and all of us are so openly disrespected by a reactionary majority of the Congress and with others of like mind, a new political action committee (PAC) has been organized for the purpose of, as stated in the group’s announcement, “holding accountable Republicans in Congress who have been inflicting their own ideology on District of Columbia residents who didn’t elect them.”

As explained in their release, “Not Your District PAC will be an effort to educate voters in the congressional districts of members who have played an active role in overturning the will of D.C. voters and to let them know that their elected representative is not doing the job they sent them to Washington to do. [The PAC will] spotlight ways that these members of Congress have failed their constituents by spending more time worrying about D.C. rather than their own district.”

We do not know for certain what might have been the “last straw” for these justifiably outraged fellow DC citizens, but for us it surely was the recent overwhelming vote in the Republican-controlled House of representatives to overturn the city council’s recently enacted “D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act.” This legislation has now added to our local human rights law a provision making it illegal to discriminate in employment against women who utilize birth control methods, opt for an abortion during the period permissible by law, use in vitro fertilization –- or even get pregnant by a man not the husband or unmarried.

In allowing this resolution of disapproval to be brought to the House floor for a vote, Speaker John A. Boehner stated that the “issue is one of religious liberty.” That, however, is simply nothing more than a smokescreen to mask the real motivation of pandering to the Tea Party and other far-right politicians who hope to gain points at home.

Like the PAC’s organizers, we are sick and tired of this meddling into our decidedly local affairs by politicians who have no connection with our municipality other than they spend some number of weeks here as part of their own employment for which they were “hired” by people far away from here who clearly have no interest in our local laws any more than we do of theirs.

These politicians were not “hired” to meddle with us but, rather, to attend to the concerns of those who “hired” them. Not Your District PAC’s Robinson has hit the nail on the head when he stated, “I think it’s absolutely hypocritical and undemocratic for a member of Congress to spend so much time talking about local control or states’ rights to turn around and use the power of the federal government to overturn laws that D.C. residents overwhelmingly support. I believe that if voters in their districts knew what their member of Congress was actually doing with their time in Washington, they’d be angry. We want these politicians to spend less time worrying about us, and more time worrying about creating jobs or educating children in the community that elected them.”

As one of the PAC’s leaders, 15-year downtown resident Brad Bauman explained to me, their strategy will be to utilize not just traditional channels but to put out the message through social media and thereby enlist volunteers from all over to contact voters –- using voter registration lists and other sources — in Congressional districts from which the worst offenders have been elected to educate them about this hypocrisy of outspoken advocates for local control and the feds “off our backs” nevertheless doing to us that which they claim is exactly what they are against.

We know from what we have witnessed with tourists visiting here, when those good people from out in the hinterland learn that their members of Congress are constantly looking for ways to overturn our local laws that have no applicability to anything approaching the national interest they are astounded. If this message can be effectively targeted in the offending Congressional districts to cause constituents to confront their representatives and express their displeasure, something positive may get set in motion.

The PAC plans to announce its first group of targeted members of Congress and begin the process of educating voters about what their elected representatives are doing to us instead of doing for those who elected them. If one signs up at www.notyourdistrict.com to volunteer or just to be in the loop for information, all will be welcome. Whether DC resident or from far away, we urge participation.