Where They Stand: Bibb commission, mayor on removal of Macon's Confederate statues

Reaction from Bibb commissioners on statues

In the aftermath of last weekend's racial incident in Charlottesville and the ongoing calls for removing Confederate statues and emblems around the nation, we reached out to all nine Bibb County commissioners and the mayor for their thoughts. 

Here's what they had to say:

Gary Bechtel: "It's a distraction. There're better things we need to focus on that will have more of an impact on the county. I can't see this coming up in the agenda."

Larry Schlesinger: "Right now, we are looking into the legality of actually doing that. There's a state law that may supersede the local law. We've got to find out about that before we can do anything."

Elaine Lucas: "I'm not advocating the removal of anything in place now. That would be counterproductive." Lucas said she wants to work on more positive things, something like erecting a Martin Luther King Jr. statue in a prominent place in the downtown area.

Mallory Jones: When asked for his position, Jones said, "No comment."

Bert Bivins: "I'm not interested in getting into that. I'm not fighting anyone who wants to take them down. It's unnecessary and may hurt what we've already accomplished with civil rights."

Joe Allen: " ... State law will probably prohibit the statues being torn down." Allen said he'd go to federal court to stop the removal of them, "because it's not right for someone to step on and infringe on someone else privilege or someone else's ideas," he said. "That's like someone saying 'tear the Tubman down because it's a museum.' I would stand just as strongly for the Tubman, The Douglas as I would for these here."

Scotty Shepherd: "It's a lot of hoop-de-doo over nothing. It's been there so long, now they're making a lot of noise about it. Why? They're making something out of nothing."

Virgil Watkins: "Honestly (the statues), they don't fill my heart with joy. As far as I'm concerned, the statues only stand for racism and slavery. There's being research done about a state law that preempts the local law and may prohibit us from doing anything. ... it's offensive to a large number of the community who want it gone."

Al Tillman: "My focus is to help reduce gun and gang violence. Those monuments have not deterred me from reaching my goals in life."

Mayor Robert Reichert didn't respond to requests for comment. On Monday, however, Reichert said he hasn't "given the issue much consideration."

LIST: Where are Central Georgia's Confederate monuments located?

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