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Replacement for Statue of Confederate General in US Capitol Get its First Okay

October 10th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Florida may have a new representative in the United States Capitol, but it’s not a lawmaker.
Instead a new statue.
Legislation to replace the current statue of a confederate general representing the state passed it’s first committee meeting this morning.
Records over how Confederate General Kirby Smith got to represent Florida in the US Capitol in 1922 are sketchy.
He was born in St. Augustine, but moved a short time later.
“I think confederate statues like the one we’re replacing belong in a museum,” said Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith.
In 2016 the state Legislature voted to remove Smith’s statue.
A special committee named three possible replacements.
Mary McLeod Bethune, Everglades savior Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, and Publix founder George Jenkins.
“Mary McLeod Bethune was unanimously chosen by this committee,” said Representative Patrick Henry, the bill’s sponsor.
On Tuesday the favorite pick of the nominees got its first stamp of approval from a House committee.
The choice is Marry McLeod Bethune, a civil rights activist and founder of Bethune-Cookman University.
“This takes a step in improving race relations and letting the rest of the country know that Florida is willing to step out and do what’s right,” said Rep. Henry.
Only one member of the committee voted no.
Representative Wengay Newton says even with the no vote the overwhelming support for the nomination is a step in the right direction.
“Twenty-one members there and twenty of them saw fit to do the right thing,” said Rep. Newton.
Pushing the choice over the finish line won’t be easy.
There are still holdouts in the legislature who want to keep the general. And there are other that want Walt Disney to personify the state.
Bethune would be the first African American woman to represent a state in the US Capitol.
If Mary McLeod Bethune is the final choice, the statue will come at no cost to the state.
The University she founded has offered to privately fund the statue.
The cost is estimated at $388,000.

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