To the Editor:

Aaron Nagano ’02 disputes the importance of voting rights for residents of Washington, D.C. (“D.C. residents don’t have it so bad,” 3/5), erroneously asserting that the District’s non-voting delegate in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton GRD ’63 LAW ’64, “would be offended by the suggestion that her constituents ‘have no representation in the federal legislature.'”

Norton is among the loudest voices suggesting that her constituents are in fact deprived of their voting rights. Last year she introduced the No Taxation Without Representation Bill, which, in her own words, was “designed to highlight the dual insult of demanding federal income taxes from residents while blithely denying them representation in the Congress that votes on taxes.”

The debate over voting rights for the District of Columbia is not a philosophical question; it is an issue of day-to-day concern for the citizens of our nation’s capital. Their local government’s every action — even down to such minutiae as the use of fire department resources — is subject to review and veto by Congress. Issues of city government routinely become battlegrounds for partisan squabbling, and federal intrusion in city affairs is the norm rather than the exception. Given all this, the very least the residents of Washington deserve is adequate congressional representation.

Jeff Howard ’04

March 5, 2002