Confederate statute removal brings Democratic cheers, Republican jeers

House Republican leaders Thursday criticized the sale of two Memphis city parks to clear the way for removal of Confederate statues, suggesting there may be legislative efforts against the move. House Democrats, on the other hand, praised the Memphis maneuver.

Statement from House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Thompson’s Station) and Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville):

Last night, the Memphis City Council unanimously approved the sale of the Health Sciences Park and Fourth Bluff Park under the cover of night to a private entity. For years, these two parks have housed the statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis.

The Shelby County Mayor signed off on this sale within an hour following the vote and cranes were spotted shortly thereafter to remove both statues.

Multiple questions have been raised involving the legality of these actions, including:

* Did Memphis officials violate sunshine laws by coordinating this sale outside of the public eye?

* Did anyone gain financially from the rapid and clear undervalued sale of these two properties?

* Were existing state statutes violated related to the removal or relocation of these memorials?

With these and many additional questions still unanswered, we will immediately begin work in conjunction with the Speaker, the Attorney General, the Comptroller’s office, and other stakeholders to further investigate this situation and recommend action to the full body of the legislature.

The Tennessee Historical Commission has already voted to deny the city’s application to remove these statues and this decision in Shelby County, at a minimum, completely violates both the spirit and intent of state law in protecting Tennessee history. We are governed by the rule of law here in Tennessee and these actions are a clear infringement of this principle and set a dangerous precedence for our state.

We look forward to beginning this investigation and addressing this important constitutional issue as we prepare for the 2018 legislative session in Nashville.

Press release from House Democratic Caucus

NASHVILLE- Leaders of the Tennessee Democratic Caucus today expressed support for the removal of two Confederate monuments that stood in parks formerly owned by the city of Memphis. The two public parks were sold by the city yesterday to a non-profit group which removed the statues last night.  State law prevented the City from removing the statutes.

Caucus leaders said they fully support the City of Memphis in removing all symbols of hate from public places.  Caucus Vice-Chairman Antonio Parkinson said “We applaud Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis City Council for finding a way to clear a path for a future where the citizens of Memphis don’t have to be reminded of how their ancestors were brutalized, raped and forcibly separated from their families through the institution of slavery.”

Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh also praised the removal, saying in a tweet that “last night was Exhibit A to the love and affection I have for the Bluff City.”

Assistant Minority Leader Joe Towns says he other delegation members will hold a news conference tomorrow at 10:30AM at Health Sciences Park where the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest once stood to express solidarity with the city.

2 Responses to Confederate statute removal brings Democratic cheers, Republican jeers

  • Avatar
    Amy Harshman Green says:

    I sincerely hope that Glen is going to pay for his stupid investigation of the City’s business out of HIS campaign funds. Got news for him….. HIS CONSTITUENTS DON’T CARE!

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      On the contrary, Glen’s Williamson County constituents are sophisticated well educated individuals who surely understand the importance of living under the rule of law in this state. Once jurisdictions are allowed to flout one law without consequences that becomes a precedent for other jurisdictions disobeying other laws and that sets us upon a chaotic path that is not in the best long term interests of Tennessee. You might not care Amy, but I hardly think you speak for a majority of Glen’s constituents, AT LEAST I HOPE NOT.

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