There is a new champion for D.C. statehood: HBO’s John Oliver.
The comedian voiced his support for D.C. statehood during a 17-minute segment on his show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, which aired Sunday.
D.C. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton says she is happy for the help.
“Frankly I found it hilarious. I had to first get myself together and then I had to quick get my pen out and take notes so I would remember the highlights of what I was seeing,” says Norton. “It’s brilliant, it’s satire at its best and it can’t be one night only.”
Norton is seizing the momentum of Oliver’s bully pulpit. She says she’ll be holding a briefing for members when Congress returns.
“I will both make light and go serious on this, because I will have a guest expert on statehood who will answer all the hard questions on when we should or should not have statehood,” says Norton.
Norton has high praise for the research that went into Oliver’s segment.
“I love the factoids. Dropping that D.C. exceeds the gross product of 16 states. Who knew that? I bet most D.C. residents didn’t know that,” says Norton.
Norton says that a producer from the show was in contact with her before the segment aired asking about policy and it was Norton’s 2007 fiery speech for statehood from the House floor that anchored Sunday night’s bit.
“Oliver didn’t need me to make his points,” says Norton. “It shows you how thorough he was in doing his homework that he picked out probably my most outrageous moment to tell Congress what I thought of them and what they should be doing.”
Norton says this one segment has boosted statehood publicity beyond anything they could have paid for.
“It gives us the one thing we have lacked, a way to get to the public.”