Council plays prominent role in first Congressional hearing on DC statehood in decades Today, for the first time since 1993, a Congressional hearing was held on the topic of statehood for the District of Columbia. Senator Thomas Carper introduced the legislation, which would create a 51st American state, to be called New Columbia. Last week, all thirteen Councilmembers signed a letter to Senator Carper in support of the legislation. The letter concluded by encouraging the Senator to bring the legislation to a vote, stating "If we are not to have voting rights, we at least deserve to know who opposes our inalienable right." Among the lead witnesses at today's hearing, testifying on behalf of the Council of the District of Columbia, was Chairman Phil Mendelson. Linked here is his full prepared testimony, as submitted in advance to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee. The oral statement delivered to the Committee by Chairman Mendelson is available here. Prior to the hearing, all thirteen Councilmembers signed a second letter, addressed to President Obama, asking him to reach out to Senator Carper's committee, and to reiterate his past support for District statehood. As of the hearing, and subsequently, no such contact has been undertaken by the White House.