18th District Congressman Darin LaHood recently voted against a measure that would remove various statues from the U.S. Capitol of people who voluntarily served the Confederacy. LaHood did not join with 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis and 71 other Republican colleagues who joined with Democrats in favor of the removal in House Resoultion 75-73.
Davis gave a floor speech during debate on the measure drawing on his district’s link to Abraham Lincoln: “Lincoln and many others who stood for freedom are represented throughout this Capitol, there are others that symbolize the opposite. While we cannot erase our past, we should do everything we can to learn from it instead – the statues in the U.S. Capitol represent to visitors throughout the world what we stand for as a nation. I support this important discussion about which statues belong in the U.S. Capitol and also the goal of this legislation.
Now, we also have to remember that the National Statuary Hall Collection was created in 1864 to commemorate states and their contributions to this country. And many statues being discussed today were donated by the states to the collection nearly 100 years ago and, as my colleagues earlier have said, many states are already working to remove them. While I support their removal, I believe the better route would have been to have some more hearings in the Committee on the House Administration.
But today, today is not about politics. Today is about coming together as an institution and today is a day that I can say proudly, I am blessed to be a member of Congress.
Our country right now is facing a very difficult time. Abraham Lincoln’s spirit of unity – and unity is desperately needed, ‘A House divided against itself cannot stand.‘
As leaders, we need to come together to show there’s much more that unites us as Americans than divides us and lead this country together, Republicans and Democrats, through this difficult time. I hope this legislation today, the bipartisanship that we’ll see, is a shining example to the rest of the country that we can do it together.“
LaHood spokesperson John Rauber told the State Journal Register that LaHood is not in favor of supporting the Confederacy, but rather wants Congress to work with the states to select the statues represents them at the U.S. Capitol. Rauber says that LaHood is willing to work with those states and with Congress to change the law so that the states can select new indivduals to represent them in the nation’s capitol.
The bill has not yet made it through the Senate or to the desk of President Donald Trump. Trump spoke out last month against the renaming of military bases that hold former slave owner’s and Confederacy soldiers’ namesakes. Trump has also said that the statues represents the country’s heritage.