Lawmakers join in call to remove Douglas statue from the capitol

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — It’s been a nationwide topic of conversation: which historical figures deserve to be honored, and which should be reserved to learning about in the history books or a museum, and while Speaker Madigan started the conversation in the capitol, House Republican Tim Butler is ready to make sure the conversation happens.

“We have artwork and statuary and things not just here in the capitol, but across the state of Illinois that we need to evaluate,” Butler said. “And the statue of Stephen Douglas is absolutely one that I think we need to look at and possibly move to another place.”

Madigan called for a review of all the statues and portrait in the capitol. Butler anticipated this. He toured the capitol recently to learn more about the statues, and the people they glorify.

“We are not going to wipe out history, but who we honor through these statues that people gaze upon when they walk into our public buildings needs to be reflective of the best of human nature, and the best of Illinoisans. And I think that is what we are going to get to,” Butler said.

House Democrat Chris Welch filed a bill to move the Martin Luther King Jr. statue to a more prominent position, and out from under a tree across the street. That got sidelined because of COVID, but he is happy to see the idea gain some traction.

“We are at a watershed moment in our nations history,” Welch said. “Times have changed, and the time to address, our countries and the systemic failures in our country is now.”

This story originally aired on July 10, 2020.

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