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Gov. Scott 'Proud' To Sign Bill Into Law Putting Bethune Statue In U.S. Capitol To Represent Fla.

Library of Congress

Governor Rick Scott says putting a likeness of Mary McLeod Bethune in National Statuary Hall is the right thing to do for Floridians. The activist could make history, if she replaces a Confederate General as one of two statues representing Florida in Washington D.C.

Earlier this week, Scott signed a bill into law that allows educator and civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune to replace Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith.

“She was a wonderful person,” he said, speaking to reporters Thursday.  “She reflects our state.  She’s somebody who made sure children could get education when children weren’t getting a great education. So, I’m proud to have signed that legislation that did that. I signed the legislation two years ago to start the process. So, I want to thank the legislation for a good bill.”

Scott’s approval means Bethune could be the first black woman to appear in National Statuary Hall. The new law—taking effect July 1—is essentially an official request to the Joint Committee of the Library Congress to make that happen. If approved, Bethune’s statute could join John Gorrie’s—the father of air-conditioning. Meanwhile, the new law also directs the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs take back the returned statue of Edmund Kirby Smith and make it available to the public.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.