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Monuments at Minnesota Capitol under review following creation of two new task forces

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Saturday marks two months since the murder of George Floyd. Since then the nation has embarked on a journey towards change.

Two big areas of change discussion across the country are police reform and the monuments honoring confederates, and other figures with controversial histories.

It's become a debate over re-thinking which historical figures should have monuments, and which ones should be kept on just the history books.

The U.S. House voted earlier this week to remove Confederate statues from public view.

All but one of Minnesota's representatives voted for that measure. The lone no vote was Jim Hagedorn who represents the 1st Congregational District.

He explained his vote in this statement:

"Each of the 50 states is permitted to place two statues in the U.S. Capitol. Empowering the federal government to infringe upon that ability is a violation of the states’ rights and represents federal overreach."

Minnesota's statues at the U.S. Capitol honor educator Maria Sanford and Henry Mower Rice, who advocated for Minnesota's statehood.

On June 10, protesters toppled the Christopher Columbus statue in St. Paul prompting meetings by The Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board. The organization oversees monuments on the Minnesota Capitol grounds.

"The intent of this engagement is to bring voices forward who may not have participated in the past," said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan who chairs the board.

She believes said the state house and capitol grounds are for the people of Minnesota, and the engagement she sought has lead to the creation of two new task forces.

The Public Engagement Advisory Task Force along with The Decision Process Advisory Task Force will be made of public members who will advise and recommend to CAAPB board who will make the final decision about art work on capitol grounds.

Minnesota residents now have the opportunity to participate in the conversation about which historical figures should be honored on capitol grounds.

"Until the board has been able to hear from the task force about how to develop an internal policy and to fully engage with the public we will not make decisions about the future of the Columbus statue or other works on capitol grounds," Flanagan said.

Ubah Ali

Ubah Ali

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