Stay or go? Franklin County leaders to put Confederate monument removal on Election Day referendum

Results of referendum would be non-binding

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – The Confederate controversy took center stage in Franklin County on Tuesday night.

The board of supervisors met to discuss the Confederate monument in front of the courthouse and decided to put the issue of removal on a referendum this Election Day in November. Despite that action, some board members said they still do not support relocating the statue.

It will be a simple yes or no question of whether or not “to relocate the monument from the county courthouse property to a location of appropriate historical significance.”

“What we’re looking for is public opinion and then we’ll use that later to make a decision,” board chairman Leland Mitchell said.

The results would be non-binding, but Mitchell said the board would not just toss the vote aside. The board hopes to form an inclusion committee after the referendum.

“In speaking for the board I say that we all will use it because we need the information,” Mitchell said.

The board would still have a final decision on what to do after the referendum.

As 10 News has reported, a large group of people protested the removal of the monument last month. About two dozen people came out to share their side of the story at Tuesday’s meeting.

“It is time to open Franklin county up, as soon as you hit that county line right there you are smacked with racism. So what a privilege it is to say we have good race relations,” Henry Turnage said in favor of relocating the statue.

“I do not believe removing this important part of local history will solve any perceived problems that are being talked about in other places and here,” Linda Stanley said in favor of leaving the statue in place.

Some people in favor of relocating the statue said it’s an issue affecting a minority, so results of a county-wide vote will be skewed. Mitchell said they’re taking that into consideration.

“I think the minority will be represented not in numbers maybe, but in representation to the board,” Mitchell said.

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