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Jackson County Executive Frank White vetoes statue ordinance

Andrew Jackson statue Jackson County
Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 18:26:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. on Wednesday vetoed an ordinance that would put a question before voters in November about whether to remove two statues of Andrew Jackson in the county.

In issuing the veto, White said the Jackson County Legislature “has not acted courageously” following demands for change in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

The legislature voted 7-2 last week in favor of the ordinance, which would ask voters whether to keep the statues that stand outside the county courthouses in downtown Kansas City and in Independence.

Legislators adopted the ordinance after voting down a measure to remove the statues on a 3-6 vote.

“I am hopeful that the passage of time has provided an opportunity for members of our Legislature to reflect on their vote and act differently,” White said. “However, I am vetoing this ordinance, not just in the hopes that Legislators will reconsider their position, but also to allow them the individual opportunity to take a clear position and directly tell the residents of our community if they believe the statues should be taken down or not.”

The legislature can override White's veto with six votes.

Andrew Jackson, for whom Jackson County is named, was both a slave owner and oversaw the forceful removal of Native Americans from their homes.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report