When you see it on your ballot, you might think you’re voting for a Batman villain, but the shadow rep is actually an advocacy-like position with a long history.
What is a shadow delegate?
When territories were seeking entrance into the young United States, they would send shadow delegations to D.C. to advocate for statehood. Now, D.C. and Puerto Rico are the only states with shadow delegations.
D.C.’s delegation is made up of one shadow representative and two shadow senators, who would become our Congress members if we got statehood. This year, the shadow rep is up for reelection.
What are a shadow representative's duties?
D.C.’s shadow delegation is made up of unpaid volunteers and advocates for statehood. They aren’t allowed to vote and enjoy little power or congressional perks. Shadow representatives serve two years (while shadow senators serve six).
Who is running this year?
- Oye Owolewa: Seeking reelection, Democrat Owolewa pushed for states to recognize D.C.’s fight for statehood and even got Democrats in West Virginia to introduce a bill to that end. His platform is based on securing universal healthcare, fighting income inequality, and adopting immigration reform policies.
- Joyce Robinson-Paul: A write-in from the Green Party primary, she was previously the Vice President of Stand Up! For Democracy and has done local community organizing.