Va. governor candidates Northam and Gillespie offer different op - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Va. governor candidates Northam and Gillespie offer different opinions on confederate monuments

Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie (Source: NBC12) Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie (Source: NBC12)

Two of the candidates for Virginia governor, Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie, have released statements following the chaos in Charlottesville on their stances for removal of the monuments.

Northam says he is in favor of moving the statues to museums and erecting monuments to other civil rights advocates:

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.

Gillespie is against removing the monuments, as they show Virginia's history "mostly for the better, but at times for the worse":

I believe that decisions about historical statues are best made at the local level, but they should stay and be placed in historical context. These are legitimate differences, and I know Virginians are engaging in an ongoing, thoughtful conversation about these sensitive issues, one marked by respect and understanding.

Our history is our history. Mostly for the better, but at times for the worse, our Commonwealth has been at the forefront of historic events, and Virginians central players in them. 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.

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