DC United’s Ben Olsen Steps Up in Fight for DC Democracy
Head Coach Appears in DC Vote Ad Campaign for DC Budget Freedom
For more information contact: James Jones, Communications Director
202.462.6000 x12 office / 202.557.4864 mobile / email@example.com
October 10, 2012
As D.C. United battles for a spot in Major League Soccer’s playoffs, Head Coach Ben Olsen is also fighting for the rights of the people of the District of Columbia.
Olsen is now appearing in a DC Vote bus and bus shelter ad campaign aimed at winning DC residents greater control over their own local tax dollars. In the ad, Olsen appears wearing a gag with the tag lines, “Don’t be Silenced,” and “Tell Congress: Free DC’s Budget.”
Coach Olsen is scheduled to appear at DC Vote's October 17 Champions of Democracy Annual Dinner during the reception from 6:30-7:30. The event will be held at the Mayflower Hotel.
Americans living in our nation's capital pay full federal taxes, fight and die in wars and serve on juries, but are denied voting representation in the House and the Senate. While DC residents have an elected mayor and city council, all locally passed laws and the local budget must be to Congress for review and approval.
"I have lived in this city since 2000 and I am proud to call it my home," said Olsen. “I, along with my family, friends, and every other District resident, should have a voice when it comes to matters that affect each of us on a daily basis."
Under current law, the DC government is barred from spending any local tax revenues until Congress passes a DC appropriations bill. The District is forced to operate on the federal fiscal year so local budgets are never approved before the start of the school year. Partisan battles over the federal budget means DC routinely waits months before being able to spend local tax dollars on critical initiatives. These delays drive up borrowing costs and put the city at risk of shutting down when a federal shutdown is threatened.
Olsen’s involvement in the democracy fight comes as DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson, along with the entire DC Council, introduced a bill that would untangle the District’s budget from Congressional gridlock. His bill authorizes a referendum that, if approved by DC voters, would amend the Home Rule Charter to allow the District to spend local funds once a local DC budget is enacted and set its own fiscal year.
“Ben Olsen is a great example of a well-known community leader who knows what it means to represent the District – as an athlete, as a coach, and as a DC resident,” said DC Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka. “His involvement means our efforts to educate the public about the fight for DC budget freedom will be more successful.”
To arrange interviews with Ben Olsen, please contact Ryan Tronovitch (firstname.lastname@example.org and 202-587-5429).