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As for the people, over 600,000 live in DC proper, and its suburbs sprawl out quite a ways into Virginia and Maryland, and even into West Virginia, as the seventh-largest metro area in the US.
For fun trivia, residents of DC proper enjoy a little-known perk: they may attend any public college in the US and only pay in-state tuition.
Statehood would add two new Senate seats and one House seat permanently under the Left's control.
Republicans tend to favor "retrocession", meaning that all of DC except for the National Mall would be returned to Maryland (which donated the land for the District in the first place).
Even today, the issue of states' rights remains divisive in American politics and a chief dividing point between its two major political parties; Democrats support a stronger central government while Republicans favor more autonomy for the states (so they say, anyways. The differences in state laws and taxes and the absence of intra-U. border control create scenarios where you see many stores on one side selling things that are either more expensive or illegal on the other side.
The most common of these are fireworks, though casinos, guns, and bulk tobacco products are also quite common.
There used to be several towns within the counties until Washington was consolidated as one city and Alexandria was given back to Virginia due to slavery and other disagreements, as well as the theories that the seat of government wouldn't get big enough to need it and that the District would not develop much of a local population.
"State" was initially a synonym for "nation", not "province" as it is now.
The National Mall (the area containing The White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, and all the monuments and Smithsonian museums) would remain a Federal District, while the rest of Washington would become the State of New Columbia.
In 2016, Washingtonians voted overwhelmingly in support of such a measure, but it has to be approved by Congress, which is unlikely given that Congress has a Republican majority and DC is staunchly Democrat.
You may have heard about former mayor Marion Barry, who was convicted of smoking crack with a prostitute while in office, but remained popular enough to win reelection and later got elected to city council where he served until his death in 2014.
Because DC now have a significant local population—more people than Vermont and Wyoming combined, in fact—for years there's been talk of giving it statehood.