Gray Makes Impassioned Plea to Democrats for D.C. Statehood

Denise Rolark-Barnes | 9/7/2012, 9:06 a.m.

D.C. delegates stood their ground and made a strong case for Statehood before the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday at the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

More than 20,000 Democrats from across the country embraced the nomination speech by former President Bill Clinton who, in his own indelible way, urged Americans to throw their full support behind President Barack Obama.

In alphabetical order, states called their votes for the re-election of the president for a second term on Sept. 5. The 55-member group that comprises the D.C. delegation rallied behind D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) as he cast the District's entire 45 votes on behalf of the president.

"I am proud tonight to represent the 618,000 residents of the District of Columbia," said Gray to a raucous crowd. "The District of Columbia cast its entire 45 votes for the re-election of President Barack Obama."

The crowd cheered in unison when D.C. Democratic Party Chairman Anita Bond introduced Gray as the "mayor-governor" of the District of Columbia.

"We have heard about the importance of inclusion; about creating opportunity; about moving forward, and about hope for the future ..." said Gray, 69. "What we have heard is a moving story about what makes America great."

Gray talked about the taxes District residents pay, and the revenue the District creates, laying out the basis advocates have used to demonstrate why the District of Columbia qualifies to become a state.

"Our great nation was founded on the fundamental principle of resistance to taxation without representation. Yet, we continue to endure that in the District of Columbia," Gray said.

"So we ask you, please America, as we work to re-elect President Obama, work with us to bring justice and equality to the District of Columbia."