Eleanor Holmes Norton on D.C. statehood and her love of dance : Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington DC's long-serving Congresswoman, plays our game about DC Comics. She is joined by panelists Roxanne Roberts, Tom Bodett and Alzo Slade.

Eleanor Holmes Norton: Congresswoman, dancer and D.C. statehood advocate

Eleanor Holmes Norton: Congresswoman, dancer and D.C. statehood advocate

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Congresswoman Eleanore Holmes Norton
Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Washington D.C. has a lot of politicians who say they hate it. But a politician who absolutely loves Washington — and is loved by it in return — is Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has served as Congresswoman from the district since 1991 after being a pioneer in civil rights law.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Peter Sagal: I hate to jump right into scandal, but why did you release those zebras?

Eleanor Holmes Norton: I've been looking for them ever since

PS: My understanding though, is the zebras got out, and for some reason, some right wing publication decided it was your fault. Not true, are you going to deny that?

I denied that.

PS: I have been so impressed just learning about [you], well, basically my entire adult life, you have been the representative. You've been the congresswoman from Washington, D.C. and I know you don't like to be called the representative.

You can be called a representative when we get statehood, and we're getting somewhere.

PS: You're getting somewhere. You think this might happen?

Well, it's passed the House twice, we've had a hearing in the Senate. We have another one coming up. We're getting there. You are looking at who will be the governor, or is it the senator, from the fifty-first state of the United States.

PS: So why do you think that it will finally happen? And why don't you tell me your argument for Washington, D.C. statehood?

We have more residents than two states already. I think it's Vermont and Wyoming.

PS: You realize that we have such a nice flag right now with the 50 stars. We're going to have to get rid of a state just to keep the flag.

Well you know... we have a flag here in the District of Columbia with 52 stars. You won't be able to tell it, but it exists. We've actually flown it on flag poles.

PS: It's the statehood equivalent of a middle finger right up there... How do you keep up your hopes in this fight for statehood?

The way I keep up my hopes is the progress we're making. Look, when you get it through the House twice and you're doing so well in the Senate, that's enough to keep your hopes up and nothing else.

PS: We are told that one of the things you are famous for, in addition to your fierce advocacy for Washington and other causes, is your dancing?

Oh, yeah.

PS: There are a lot of videos, you can Google it, of Eleanor Holmes Norton dancing. Has this always been a part of your career?

Always. I'm a native Washingtonian, grew up dancing in D.C., and that's my thing.

Alzo Slade: And Congresswoman, you said you said that you've been dancing all your life here in D.C. and I understand that you all just made a designation of Chuck Brown Day.

PS: How will you celebrate Chuck Brown Day?

He stood on the Capitol steps and got everybody dancing and we kind of celebrated that way.

PS: Let's say, and I hope it's true, just for the good people of Washington to become fully enfranchised Americans like the rest of us, that it happens and Washington becomes the 51st or 52nd state. How will you, Eleanor Holmes Norton, celebrate that day?

Well, with go-go music, of course.

This is an excerpt from Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, NPR's weekly news quiz. Have a laugh and test your knowledge with today's funniest comedians. Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or listen on NPR One, and you can find us on Instagram. Want to come out to our live shows at our new home at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, IL or on the road? Just check out nprpresents.org.