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The Wildest Attempt in 2020 to Give Some of Virginia Back to DC

by Nena Perry-Brown

This year, the Covid-19 pandemic upended our lives and had drastic impacts on the real estate industry, and most importantly, people's personal housing situations. With that in mind, UrbanTurf is wrapping up 2020 with an abbreviated Year-in-Review series.


During a year where DC statehood got a lot of attention (and an ounce of progress), one Virginia legislator suggested solving the problem by creating another one.

In January, Virginia state senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) attempted to introduce a bill to re-cede Arlington and Alexandria back to DC. 

Senator Obenshain's apparent inspiration was West Virginia Governor Jim Justice's and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.'s suggestion at a press conference that Virginia counties whose residents are unhappy with having a Democrat-led General Assembly should secede from Virginia to join West Virginia. According to Obenshain, his proposed bill offered a better way to bring harmony to his state.

"I really believe we in Virginia should find a way, and it may be a painful way, to try and work out our differences," he explained. "I believe that we need to seriously debate this alternative that would allow 95%, 98% of the landmass of the Commonwealth of Virginia to remain Virginians."

Arlington and Alexandria were ceded from DC back to Virginia in 1846, a move Obenshain asserted may be unconstitutional. However, he does not want to see any part of Virginia secede to join West Virginia. 

Obenshain's fellow senators mostly responded with humor, lamenting the potential loss of bars, restaurants, and Starbucks locations; suggesting that the state's 8th District (which includes Arlington County, part of Fairfax County, and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church) break off to make its own state; and suggesting that Virginia should instead reabsorb West Virginia. 

The motion to introduce the bill failed to pass despite some votes in favor.

Other 2020 Year in Review Articles:

See other articles related to: year in review 2020

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-wildest-attempt-to-give-some-of-virginia-back-to-dc/17669

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