51st state elects representative

The 51st state of Washington DC elected it's representative to Congress Tuesday. OK, so Washington DC isn't a state yet. But like most wannabe states, they do have an official-like election to chose a "shadow" representative. The winner receives permission to wander around Congress and pretend; he gets to sit in a special chair and probably wear a secret decoder ring. No disrespect to winner Mike Panetta (above) ... it's just that shadow representatives don't get to do the important stuff... like vote. But I wish him all the best in his 51st state quest. And his 51st state license plates are really cool. I want one.


  1. The difference from the representatives of other would-be States is that the DC Representative is official and recognized by the House. He sits, officially, on committees and his opinion is listened to.

    Whether it has any influence is another matter.

  2. Actually, as the linked story states, Mr. Panetta was elected to the Shadow Representative position in 2006. He is running for reelection in next Tuesday's Democratic Primary.

    This position is not the DC Delegate position held by Eleanor Holmes Norton, which like those of the various territories, can vote in committee, but not on the House floor (the post mentioned by the previous commenter).

    The Shadow Representative (and the Shadow Senators also elected) are supposed to lobby Congress in support of full voting status for DC. Shadow Senators/Representatives were elected (maybe appointed) by the territories of Alaska and Hawaii when they were pushing for statehood. The justification then for these positions was the distance between them and the capital. As a DC resident, I'm not sure that justification holds for Mr. Panetta, especially since the Delegate (Ms. Norton) can perform that function.