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A great interview of D.C. “Representative” Eleanor Holmes Norton courtesy of DCist, of which you can read in full here. Excerpts below:
DCist: You faced a significant challenge in terms of the precedent you’d be setting for women’s rights in this country. People were hoping Hillary Clinton could shatter the final glass ceiling earlier this week. How do you feel about the fact that that goal wasn’t accomplished?
Norton: Women have every reason to be depressed. I’ve never even seen demonstrations at home, much less across the country, upon the election of a president. That just doesn’t happen. This is happenstance, but I think the film comes out at just the right time.
Young women who will identify with all these stories that came out about how Donald Trump used his celebrity as a sexual weapon, these are the women whose guts most turned. These women, hearing such stories—Donald Trump may not be the kind of president they hoped for. In the film, these young women had everything to lose. To see these young women demanding to be treated as professionals, seems to me to come at a particularly good time, and [will] cheer women to know that this too will pass.
DCist: How are you feeling about the results of the presidential election at this point?
Norton: I couldn’t be more disappointed, especially since I knew Hillary Clinton from the time she was the First Lady. She was destined to be the most pro-statehood president we’ve ever had. I really lost someone who could have helped us.
I have been first in the minority most of my time in Congress. I have had Republican presidents at least as often as Democratic presidents. I have never looked at a Republican president as the end of the world. I’m certainly depending on Donald Trump not to harm the District of Columbia.
He took no position on statehood when he was running. I don’t see animus to the District of Columbia. I will not presume it. If I find it, I will fight it.
DCist: How do you plan to proceed on the statehood issue now that both chambers of Congress and the executive will be controlled by Republicans?
Norton: I don’t think anyone was under the illusion that statehood would roll down the Hill. The mayor has spoken frankly that the election results certainly put a crimp in our statehood style. If there’d been a Democratic Senate, we still would have had a Republican house. We would still have had an uphill climb. This gives us time to put a number of strategies in place. We do not have a good social media strategy in place. I’m working on that now. I think we can use this period to the greatest benefits.
When it comes to the kind of House and Senate we have, that’s what I’m used to. The other reason I look more to the Congress than the president is that most of the work that’s done isn’t done at the presidential level. One of the best experiences I’ve had was when Newt Gingrich was speaker of the house. We got a huge amount done as speaker. Who would have thought that? I didn’t think that. By not presuming an enemy before he shows himself to be one, we were able to get a lot done.