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Conway ponders, says Jefferson Davis statue should be moved

Published: Jun. 24, 2015 at 9:42 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2015 at 11:28 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One day after Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said he was unsure whether the statue of Jefferson Davis should be taken down from the state Capitol rotunda, the Democratic candidate for governor wants the monument moved.

"I have spoken with some African-American leaders on this issue, and when I am governor, I will work inclusively to complete this outcome," Conway said in an emailed statement.

The Historic Properties Advisory Commission, which determines the Capitol rotunda's displays, has scheduled a meeting for 1 p.m. Thursday after Gov. Steve Beshear asked the panel to review the statue's placement.

[PREVIOUS STORY: KY Republicans want Jefferson Davis statue removed, Conway unsure]

Conway said the Davis statue belonged in a museum, after hedging on the issue Tuesday. Top Republicans -- including his opponent in the governor's race, Matt Bevin -- immediately called for its removal.

"I'd have to chew on that a little bit. It's an important part of our history," Conway said at a news conference Tuesday. "Anything that a certain number of our people find offensive, I'd be willing to talk about."

Bevin said he favored taking the Davis statue out of the rotunda, a prominent place for tours of the building. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate also said the statue should be moved.

Yet Gov. Steve Beshear didn't take a definitive stance, instead asking the Historic Properties Advisory Commission to review which monuments are displayed in the Capitol. Beshear said in December that he didn't think the rotunda's statues should be "an issue."

After Conway made his feelings known, House Speaker Greg Stumbo -- who had no comment when asked Tuesday -- said he had "no objection" to moving the Davis statue.

Senate Democratic leaders also said Wednesday that the statue should be removed from the rotunda and put in "a place of history."

The shooting at a South Carolina church last week renewed a call to remove the Jefferson Davis statue, as well as taking down Confederate flags from state Capitol grounds in South Carolina and Mississippi.

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