WASHINGTON -- Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.'s delegate to Congress, began the fight for a D.C. quarter seven years ago, and that effort was realized Monday, when the quarters were put in circulation Monday.
It's been longer, though, that Norton and D.C. residents have been fighting for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Seven years ago, Norton protested a vote on the 50 states coin series and got the promise of a District coin, though it stalled in the Senate until an omnibus bill last year. That's worth about 25 cents in pride to many voting rights activists in the city.
"The District has gained another measure of equality and pride in being American citizens," she said. "We rejoice at the circulation of the coin as we begin hearings on our voting rights tomorrow."
Hearings to send the D.C. House Voting Rights Act to the floor of the House are set for Tuesday.
Among the witnesses expected to testify are D.C. National Guard Capt. Yolanda Lee, an Iraq War veteran and graduate of Ballou High School and the University of the District of Columbia; Georgetown law professor Viet Dinh, a former U.S. assistant attorney general for legal policy under President Bush; and Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
If granted, the Democrat-leaning District's vote would be balanced by an additional vote for Republican-leaning Utah. D.C.'s vote would go to Democrat Norton.