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House Speaker Stumbo Promises Bill To Remove Jefferson Davis Statue

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo on Wednesday said he will file a bill during the 2016 legislative session to remove the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the state Capitol Rotunda.

Many of Kentucky’s top elected officials called for the statue to be removed in the wake of a shooting in a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Democratic and Republican candidates for governor also called for the statue to be removed.

But the state Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted last week to keep the statue and establish a committee that would provide more historical context about the Civil War and Davis’ place in history.

On Wednesday, Stumbo said the statue “has its place in history,” but should be put in the Kentucky History Museum in Frankfort.

“It shouldn’t stand in a house that belongs to all the people,” Stumbo said.

According to a recent Bluegrass Poll, 73 percent of Kentucky voters favor keeping the statue in the Capitol.

During a public comment period on the statue, the Historic Properties Advisory Commission received 3,000 online comments about the statue, with about 1,800 in favor of keeping it in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted 7-2 to keep the statue in place. But the 15-foot-tall marble statue can also be removed by an executive order from Gov. Steve Beshear, a ruling by the state Supreme Court or legislation, commissioner Chair Steve Collins said last week.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor of Kentucky Public Radio. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.

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