Trump's Selection of Running Mate Mike Pence Could Be a Win for DC Voting Rights

As D.C. leaders write a constitution in hopes of making the District the 51st state, Donald Trump's selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate may be an indication a Trump administration would support giving D.C. a vote in Congress.

While Trump is on record as being "okay" with giving D.C. representation in Congress, Pence has been on the record for almost a decade as a staunch supporter, calling the District's lack of voting representation on the Hill "a historic wrong."

Pence took to the House floor in March 2007, when he represented Indiana's 6th Congressional District, and spoke in support of D.C. residents.

“The fact that more than half a million Americans living in the District of Columbia are denied a single voting representative in Congress is clearly a historic wrong," he told his colleagues, the Congressional Record shows.

“The single overreaching principle of the American founding was that laws should be based upon the consent of the governed," he continued. "It is inconceivable to me that our founders would have been willing to accept the denial of representation to so great a throng of Americans in perpetuity.”

D.C. shadow Sen. Paul Strauss, who was in the House gallery during Pence's remarks, said he sees Pence's spot on the Republican ticket as an opportunity.

"Pence's willingness to cross party lines on the D.C Voting Rights Act was encouraging," he said. "His position on the ticket is helpful because it gives us an opportunity to engage Republicans on the issue of D.C.'s status with more visibility, on a bipartisan basis."

Trump has been noncommittal on his support of D.C. voting rights, and in March, he told The Washington Post he's opposed to statehood.

"I think statehood is a tough thing for D.C. I think it’s a tough thing. I don’t have a position on it yet. I would form a position. But I think statehood is a tough thing for D.C.," he said in a meeting with the paper's editorial board. "I don’t see statehood for D.C."

When Trump was asked about granting D.C. residents a vote in the House of Representatives, he said: "I think that’s something that would be okay. Having representation would be okay."

Then-Rep. Pence knew when he spoke on the House floor in 2007 that he was going against the will of the Republican Party.

“It is my privilege to stand today, albeit in opposition to some of my most cherished colleagues, and stand in support of the D.C. Voting Rights bill," he said in April 2007, the Congressional Record shows.

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