McAuliffe Says Funding Schools Is More Important Than Tearing Down Statues


Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia announced Thursday that funding Richmond schools is more important than tearing down Confederate statues.

The governor clarified his stance on whether helping children took precedent over tearing down memorials in a radio segment on Richmond’s WRVA, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“If I’m the mayor of Richmond or I’m on the city council, I’m facing a tough decision,” McAuliffe said on air. “Do I spend, I don’t know, five, 10 million dollars taking something down. When I got schools. I tell you, my first priority’s got to be schools.”

McAuliffe mentioned that, while Richmond is home to many millennials, the residents often move out of the city for education when they start raising children.

The governor believed Confederate statues should be maintained following Dylann Roof’s murder in 2015, but changed his position after the Charlottesville rally.

McAuliffe responded to a caller that introduced herself as Valerie and suggested erecting more statues on Monument Avenue, supplementing the existing statues with context, and changing the street’s name to “Progress Avenue.”

“I would agree with Valerie,” the governor said. “Let’s go ahead and put some context to these things and move forward. This is going to be a debate that’s going on for a long time.”

While Richmond owns most of Monument Avenue’s statues, the Robert E. Lee statue is state-owned and McAuliffe is pondering introducing a bill to remove it. A spokesman for the governor told Richmond Times-Dispatch that the governor has not yet requested a cost estimate.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the governor’s office for further comment, but received none in time for press.

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