Citizens Form “Save Our Vote” Referendum Campaign Committee to Reinstate Initiative 77

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Josh Glasstetter

Citizens Form “Save Our Vote” Referendum Campaign Committee to Reinstate Initiative 77

In response to DC Council’s repeal of Initiative 77, tipped workers and advocates are organizing to return power to the voters

WASHINGTON – Today, a coalition of workers, clergy, voting rights advocates and concerned DC citizens gathered outside the DC Office of Campaign Finance to announce the formation of a special political committee to overturn DC Council’s undemocratic repeal of ballot initiative 77.

“We are not going to let DC Council overturn our election victory for workers quietly,” said Dia King, tipped worker and chair of the newly formed Save Our Vote No Repeal of Initiative 77 committee. 

On June 19, 2018, 56 percent of DC voters put an end to the “separate but equal” wage structure and joined seven other states by approving One Fair Wage – gradually raising the subminimum tipped wage to the full minimum wage. On October 16, by an 8-5 vote, DC Council overturned the will of the voters.

“DC Councilmembers disrespected their constituents by prioritizing business interest groups and trade lobbies at the expense of women, immigrants and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the subminimum tipped wages,” King added.  

“Our referendum asks voters to say NO to Council’s repeal of Initiative 77. We must return to the path that will take us to $15 per hour for all workers by 2026. We welcome all voting rights activists and workers to join our campaign to defend democracy in the District of Columbia,” said Save Our Vote No Repeal of Initiative 77 campaign director Reverend Graylan Hagler.

“We cannot sit back and let Council treat DC voters like they don’t exist,” said campaign treasurer Trupti Patel.

The rarely used, but effective, process of using a referendum to overturn the legislature balances the power of elected officials with their constituents and helps keep them accountable. Since 1974, when the DC Charter was amended to allow for the referendum process, three referenda challenging DC Council legislation have appeared on the ballot.  

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