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NE Florida Rep. John Rutherford: Public Should Vote On Confederate Monuments

Hemming Park's Confederate statue.
Hemming Park's Confederate statue.

Congressman John Rutherford, R-FL4, said Thursday that cities grappling with whether to remove Confederate monuments should put the question to the ballot. He spoke to WJCT at an unrelated event in St. Augustine.

“At some point, a community decided that monument was a good idea,” Rutherford said. “If now the community as a whole wants to come together and say, ‘Take those monuments down,’ I’m OK with that as long as (it’s decided by) a majority of the population of the county.”

His call for a public referendum on the issue mirrors what the group Save Southern Heritage Florida is campaigning for in Jacksonville.

Rutherford said people wanting to preserve history shouldn’t be grouped in with white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

“It looks like if you support leaving the monuments up then you’re a racist; if you want to take them down, you’re not and that is absolutely a wrong conundrum that they’ve put people in,” he said. “And I think the media is trying to report it that way.”

Meanwhile, Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche is calling for an inventory of Jacksonville’s Confederate monuments and said she intends to file a bill to have them placed in museums.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

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