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Northam, Gillespie Speak Out on Charlottesville

In response to the City of Charlottesville’s decision this week to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, Virginia Lieutenant Gov. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Ralph Northam released the following statement: “I support City of Charlottesville’s decision to remove the Robert E. Lee statue. I believe these statutes should be taken down and moved into museums. As governor, I am going to be a vocal advocate for that approach and work with localities on this issue. “We should also do more to elevate the parts of our history that have all too often been underrepresented. That means memorializing civil rights advocates like Barbara Johns and Oliver Hill, who helped move our Commonwealth closer towards equality.”

Northam’s opponent in the race for governor, Republican Ed Gillespie said in a statement, “I know that for many of my fellow Virginians, statues of Confederate soldiers are offensive and should come down. I know that for many others, they are a reminder of heritage and we cannot erase history by taking them down. In my view, the approach underway in the city of Richmond is a good example for other cities and counties to follow. While not removing statues, they are weighing how to put them in proper historical context. There is a balance that can be struck here, one that recognizes the outsized role Virginia has played in our history, while acknowledging that we have not always been on its right side.”