House speaker ducks the Lee/King holiday issue | Arkansas Blog

House speaker ducks the Lee/King holiday issue

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MIA: Speaker Jeremy Gillam is ducking the King/Lee debate. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • BRIAN CHILSON
  • MIA: Speaker Jeremy Gillam is ducking the King/Lee debate.

Many have noted House Speaker Jeremy Gillam's comment to the Democrat-Gazette on pending legislation to end the dual observance of a state holiday for a slavery defender (Robert E. Lee) and a civil rights champion (Martin Luther King Jr.)

He declined to take a position, though the issue has been debated at every legislative session in some form or another for almost two decades. He "wants to let process play out," he said.

Almost 152 years after Appomattox, I'd say the process has played out.

Stand up and be counted, Mr. Speaker.

You stood up in the well of the House — unusual for the presiding officer — to allow Walmart to sell wine in its grocery stores.

Can we get a witness for the end of slavery?

Perhaps not from somebody with an eye on higher office and a belief that you lose more points defending primacy for King over Lee than the other way around in Arkansas. Perhaps he's hoping a belligerent Lost Cause committee will again save him from a vote.

Worse than Gillam's cowardice on the issue is the possibility that he's right about the politics in the state.


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