CARSON CITY, Nev. – Democratic members of Nevada's congressional delegation are renewing a proposal to remove a statute of a former Nevada Sen. Patrick McCarran from the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall, saying that he left a “legacy of racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.”
Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto and Reps. Steven Horsford, Dina Titus and Susie Lee made the request Friday in a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak and two legislative leaders.
The letter said McCarran supported workers’ rights and helped shape the air travel industry, but that his statue should be replaced with one of a person who better represents Nevada's values “as a compassionate, diverse and welcoming state."
“A monument to a man who advocated bigotry is an affront to those ideals,” the letter added.
The delegation members' letters also voiced support for local efforts to rename Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport.
Two of the letter-signers were among delegation members who asked state lawmakers in 2017 to remove the McCarran statue from the Capitol. His statue was added to the hall in 1960.
McCarran was a Reno native and a Democrat in the Senate from 1933 until his death in 1954. During his tenure, he sponsored legislation that required communist organizations to register with the government and expanded the government's capacity to deport immigrant suspected of harboring communist sympathies. Informed by his anti-communist leanings, he was a vocal supporter of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who he visited in 1949, against the wishes of then-President Harry Truman.
To replace the statue in the U.S. Capitol, the state Legislature must pass a resolution identifying the statue to be replaced along with the name of a replacement, and several other requirements.
Each state is invited to place two statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection. Nevada added its second honoree in 2005 with a statue of 19th century Northern Paiute author and educator Sarah Winnemucca.