Gov. Haslam thinks city should decide what happens with Confederate statues

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Governor Bill Haslam called for the removal of the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest last week at the state capitol.

He agrees with Mayor Jim Strickland that the statue in Memphis should come down as well.

"(Strickland) understands it's a process trying to do everything. He can work to speed that process along, and I think it's the right approach," Haslam said.

Haslam serves on the Tennessee Historical Commission and said they are talking about possibly changing the process or speeding it up.

"We don't always like the process, but I'm the governor not the king, so I don't get to decide all that. But we would like to see it dealt with as rapidly as possible," Haslam said.

Haslam also said the principle in this entire issue goes back to letting the local government decide these sorts of issues.

"I think the city of Memphis should get to decide what happens on its own property. I think that's a great principle that fits in this case," Haslam said.

He made it clear he is not for taking down the statues illegally and dealing with the repercussions later.

"We're a state of laws, and we don't just get to obey the ones we like, so I think it's Important to remember that," Haslam said.

Haslam did say it would be great if Memphis could get the statues removed in time to celebrate MLK50 next year.

He thinks the bust inside the capitol should go to the state museum.

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