For city leaders in Washington, DC, the deadly January 6 attack on the Capitol reinforces the need for Congress to move on granting statehood to the district, particularly after pro-Trump rioters were able to incite violence without immediate repercussion or proper law enforcement on hand to tame the crowd, according to Rep. Oye Owolewa, DC's shadow representative.
"We don't have control over our National Guard. While every other state can just have the governor reach and get their resources to protect them, we don't have that," he said.
The need for statehood was evident even before the Capitol attack and was highlighted last year when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic first swept the U.S., Owolewa added. "We don't control our own budget. We can't even create our own laws without federal intervention. We're not able to get all the resources to fight COVID compared to our neighboring states in Maryland and Virginia."
Just off of the heels of last week's attack, the city is gearing up to host President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, an event DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking that Americans virtually attend from home because of persistent safety concerns. Owolewa said he is concerned about residents of the city, in particular, not just for potential violence at the event but the fallout from the pandemic at health care facilities, restaurants, and shops.
"This is supposed to be a time where people come to DC and celebrate a peaceful transition of power. This is our opportunity to show the world what democracy is like, and right now, we have a president that puts his own interest in front of national security," he continued.
As the House debates over articles of impeachment, despite not having a seat in Congress due to DC's lack of statehood, Owolewa echoed the sentiments from many critics of the president and supported attempting to convict and oust Donald Trump.
"[Trump] is going to be impeached based off his comments that he made that incited a riot and today, I expect a bipartisan vote that will pass the articles of impeachment and send it over to the Senate for a vote," he said.