• McAuliffe Breaks From Northam On Historical Statues

    — Northam on WFIR: “I will do everything that I can, that I have authority to do to remove the statues at the state level.” —

    –McAuliffe on WRVA: Richmond schools should take precedence over removing statues on Monument Avenue. —

    While Lt. Governor Northam recently pledged to do ‘everything that he can to remove statues at the state level,’ Governor Terry McAuliffe this morning on WRVA’s “Ask the Governor” program, made clear he believes that Richmond’s crumbling school system should take precedence over what could be a cost of $10 million for the removal of Richmond’s statues.

    Yesterday, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported that Richmond schools are still short about 90 teachers a week before first day of school (RTD, 8/30/17).

    Question for Ralph Northam: Does Ralph Northam believe that removing historical statues should come at the expense of critical dollars for Richmond’s schools?

    Ralph Northam won’t answer this question. Because he can’t.


    BARRETT: From a practical taxpayer standpoint then, let’s take Richmond for example because Richmond obviously has Monument Avenue and there’s a lot of statues on Monument Avenue, very big statues, very heavy statues, who’s going to pay to move those? You have failing public schools. Are we going to use taxpayer dollars to move statues?

    MCAULIFFE: Jimmy, I just told you the City has to make a decision. I don’t want to spend this whole show on monuments. People got to make their own decision –

    BARRETT: Aren’t you going to be introducing a bill though regarding at least the Robert E. Lee monument, right?

    MCAULIFFE: We could. We might. That is state –

    BARRETT: That’s on state property.

    MCAULIFFE: Yeah, but the General Assembly has to make that decision. But I go to where you were going, I got needs for schools today, I got a lot of issues I have to deal with for school funding, that’s what people want me to talk about…

    VALERIE: First of all, governor, I really appreciate the hard work ethic that you are encouraging the citizens to have, that’s wonderful. I was wondering about, why can we not rename the avenue “Progress Avenue” and continue to construct monuments that have to do with our progress. So there’s a Maggie Walker. Continue going forward of adding monuments that just show our progress, where we’ve come from and where we’re going.

    BARRETT: I think that’s a great idea, that’s a perfect history lesson.

    MCAULIFFE: Yep, and I think that’s where Mayor Stoney was – he originally talked about putting some of these in context. And listen, if I’m the mayor of Richmond or I’m on the City Council I’m faced with a tough decision. Do I spend, I don’t know, five to ten million dollars taking something down when I got schools – I’ll tell you my first priority has got to be schools because I got to get people employed. Richmond has to deal with the issue that a lot of folks, young millennials are here, but then when they have children they sort of move out to the neighboring jurisdictions for education. We got to keep everybody right here in this beautiful city. And that’s their biggest challenge. So I would agree with Valerie, let’s go ahead and put some context to these things and move forward. This is going to be a debate that’s going on for a long time. But what I try to get back to, and everybody likes to latch on to this monument – this isn’t about monuments. It’s much bigger, it’s much broader, and I got to fix education and we got to work on the things, Jimmy, to give everybody an opportunity.

    Listen to the full interview HERE.


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