Sen. Bart Hester issued a news release today urging a “conversation” on replacing the two statues representing Arkansas in the Hall of Statuary in the U.S. Capitol. He wants to replace Uriah Rose and James Paul Clarke with people “who embody the Arkansas values of courage and dignity for all.”
Hester introduced legislation in 2017 to replace the statues, but the session ended without action.
The legislature can decide its representatives. Rose, a
“Each honoree has represented Arkansas in the U.S. Capitol for almost 100 years,” Hester said. “That was one of the reasons why I filed legislation in 2017 to begin the discussion on replacing them.”
“I realized there would not be enough time for people to participate,” Hester said. “This is a process that needs to incorporate the shared traditions and values of the entire state of Arkansas.”
Letting Hester lead this charge is problematic. He himself embodies bigotry, with his devotion to limiting the rights of LGBT people. He embodies self-dealing, with legislation protecting his billboard property from higher taxes, with gifts of tax money to a preacher in his area and with gifts of tax money to the corruptly operated Ecclesia College. He embodies extortion, by threatening to cut University of Arkansas funding when its policies don’t suit him. To name a few.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas can fill you in on:
* Uriah M. Rose, a pioneer lawyer, founder of the American Bar Association and namesake of the Rose Law Firm.
* James Clarke, the state’s 18th governor and a U.S. senator with a controversial history that included defending white supremacy as a doctrine of the Democratic Party of the day.
The latter isn’t only about past history. The idea for booting Clarke arose with Stacy Hurst, director of the state Heritage Department. It so happens she was defeated for a race for state House in 2014 by Clarke Tucker, a descendant of James Clarke. Payback, in other words.
But, yes, other states have switched statues. I previously nominated Allen Sims and Charlotte Moorman should the day come.
But here’s a serious idea: Have Hester get the crooks of Ecclesia to get the state’s money back to pay for the new statues.