Newswire : Congresswoman Norton fighting for D.C., Black Press in new Congress

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedi

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is a living legend with more than 50 honorary degrees and a list of accomplishments the size of her beloved District of Columbia. One of the ways that Norton remains updated through her book club.
“I think the book that I enjoy is ‘On the Basis of Sex,’ about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg,” Norton said. “But, as far as having a favorite movie, television show or song, I don’t have time.” That’s because she’s busy fighting for the rights of her fellow Washingtonians.
It’s a battle she’s fought for nearly 30 years as the District’s representative in the House of Representatives.
“Certainly nothing can be more important than making the District a state and I don’t suppose that any member of Congress can do anything that’s more important,” said Norton, 81. “We are going to get a vote on statehood this time and I expect it to be successful in Congress. We’ll just have to see what happens in the Senate,”
Norton arrived in Congress in 1991. Already a national figure known for her work during the civil rights movement, Norton arrived with a determination that others could easily see.Her hard work helped to break barriers for Washington as she successfully fought for a bill that provided up to $10,000 annually for high school students in D.C. to attend any public U.S. college or university. That bill also provided up to $2,500 per year for D.C. students to attend many private colleges and universities.
She also gained a unique $5,000 D.C. homebuyer tax credit for residents and helped stabilize
the city’s population with various incentives during times of economic crisis. Most of that was
accomplished while Democrats sat in the minority.
Along with the many battles still ahead, Norton has also tackled the issue of federal agencies
and how they spend their combined more than $5 billion advertising budget. She said she’s gathered co-sponsors for a bill that will require all agencies in the government to produce their spending reports and detail what they have spent and will spend with black-owned newspapers and media companies.
“I introduced it the last session, but it’s a new session and [Democrats] are in the majority so there’s a difference,” Norton said, adding that she remains amazed at how black newspapers – particularly in a major city like Washington – have been able to thrive.“You just wouldn’t know what’s really going on if you didn’t have the Black Press of America,” Norton said.
“That’s why I asked for a Government Accountability Office report to detail what federal agencies spend with the Black Press. My legislation will make the government lead by example in advertising with the Black Press and make them more conscious of their obligations.“That’s why I push it the way I am pushing it now,” she said.
For Norton, it all syncs with a motto she adopted from the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,” Norton said, quoting that famous document. What I love is the saying, ‘self-evident.’ Take a moment and think about that saying. I do,” she said.

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