Ohio statue committee recommends Thomas Edison

August 27, 2010 by EVE   · Comments Off

No surprise:

Committee recommends Thomas Edison for new Ohio statue in Washington

By William Hershey | Thursday, August 26, 2010, 02:56 PM

By a unanimous 6-0 vote, a special legislative committee on Thursday, Aug. 26, recommended that inventor Thomas Edison represent Ohio on a new statute in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Thomas Letson, D-Warren, initially passed but then cast his vote for Edison to make it a unanimous selection. Letson said after the meeting that his first choice was the Wright brothers, the aviation pioneers from Dayton. He said, however, he wanted the committee’s choice to be unanimous.

Letson said he preferred Orville and Wilbur Wright because of his personal feelings about where their research was done” and where they had a continuing presence. The Wrights lived most of their lives in Dayton. Edison was born in Milan in Erie County but left Ohio when he was seven and did most of his inventing in New Jersey.

Edison supporters, however, said he maintained continuing contact with his birthplace.

The recommendation from the National Statuary Collection Study Committee now goes to the House and Senate for their consideration. Lawmakers are expected to return to Columbus after the Nov. 2 election.

A new Ohio statue will replace former Ohio Gov. William Allen, whose pro-slavery and anti-Abraham Lincoln views now are seen as an embarrassment to the state.

Each state is represented by two statutes and Ohio’s other statue – of President James Garfield – will remain in Statuary Hall.

Another factor in the selection process was the question of whether more than one person could be represented on Ohio’s statute.

Stephen T. Ayers, Acting Architect of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., told Committee Chairman Mark Wagoner, R-Ottawa Hills, in a letter of March 22, 2010, that “as specified in the authorizing legislation, only one individual may be honored by a state in the National Statuary Hall Collection.”

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The committee recommendation followed voting by the public on a new statute.

In the popular vote, open to all Ohioans, Edison received 14,833 votes, 1,018 more than the 13,815 cast for the Wrights. Jesse Owens, the Olympic gold medal winner, was third with 5,032 votes and former U.S. Rep. William M. McCulloch, a Piqua Republican who championed civil rights, was fourth with 3,851 votes.

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