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Rep. Al Lawson


Democratic congressional candidates laud Jacksonville Confederate monument removal

Donna Deegan, Al Lawson weigh in.

Republicans running for office in the 4th and 5th Congressional Districts have been mum, but Democrats in each race have issued statements supportive of Jacksonville taking down one of its Confederate monuments.

In CD-4, a press release from Democrat Donna Deegan, running to replace incumbent Rep. John Rutherford, said the move was “long overdue” and a “goodwill gesture from the city’s leadership.”

“These symbols have caused much pain and suffering for our black community. The presence of these monuments were a daily reminder of slavery and a very dark period in our nation’s history,” Deegan said in the release.

“This is a good first step in restoring unity locally and across our country, but this decision needs to be followed with meaningful policy and budgetary changes that will address long standing racial inequities. It is time to make good on the promises of consolidation.”

Rutherford has messaged heavily about red snapper season, but the former three-term Jacksonville Sheriff has yet to say anything about the monuments. He did call Black Lives Matter a “hate group” in 2016, however.

Meanwhile, CD-5 incumbent Democrat Rep. Al Lawson, an ally of the Curry administration, lauded the move and Mayor Lenny Curry.

“As someone who grew up in the heart of segregation and has first-hand accounts of racial inequality and injustice. It warms my heart to see the city of Jacksonville remove the Confederate monument in Hemming Park, and throughout the City. I commend the citizens of Jacksonville for pushing this initiative for the past few years, the elected leaders who dreamt of this moment, and the Mayor for having the courage to help erase our troubled past and begin the healing process of our city, state, and nation.”

Overnight, a controversial statue commemorating the Civil War’s Confederate cause was removed from Jacksonville’s Hemming Park.

At this point, that is the only one of the city’s monuments of that type to come down. But the rest are coming, Curry said Tuesday.

“I’ve heard people … I’ve evolved,” the Mayor said. “The others in the city will be removed as well.”

Jacksonville has at least two more monuments, put in place between 1898 and 1926, and eight historic markers.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at

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