NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Senator Lee Harris has sent a letter to Governor Bill Haslam urging him to take specific action that could result in the removal of two confederate monuments in Memphis which he says has caused discord for decades.
The Nathan Bedford Forrest statue is located in the Memphis Medical District and the monument for Jefferson Davis in the downtown area.
“Although I understand that you do not possess unlimited powers, you have significant influence. Respectfully, Mr. Governor, I would encourage you to use the tools at your disposal,” Senator Harris stated in the letter which was obtained by WREG Tuesday.
The lawmaker urged him to meet first with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland with the hope the two can create a “joint plan of action” before approaching the Tennessee Historical Commission.
By law, the city must get the commission’s approval before any action can be taken, which Harris said is hard to get.
“The Tennessee Historical Commission previously turned down the City of Memphis’ request. Further, as of this writing, the Commission has not even agreed to a date-certain for an additional hearing regarding the City of Memphis’ request.”
Harris is hoping the governor’s influence will force them to take some form of action on the matter.
But the letter didn’t stop there, Harris is wanting to create legislation that would return control to the city and have the governor pledge his support when it comes to removing the monuments entirely.