Controversy over statue diversity

-FILE- Connecticut State Capitol (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The racial discord around the nation has prompted a controversy here in Connecticut about the diversity of monuments in the state. The highest ranking Republican in the state says the Governor is adding “fuel to the fire” of racial tensions in remarks about state funding for two new statues.

The Governor was responding to criticism following the approval of nearly $200-million in borrowing for various projects around the state that included over $500,000 for two statues, “There’s a reality that the vast, vast majority of statuary that has been built in Connecticut and paid for with public or private dollars, is to white men,” said Gov. Malloy.

That remark brought sharp criticism from the state’s highest ranking elected Republican, State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano of North Haven. In a statement Fasano says, “At a time when racial tensions in the country are at an all time high, I am disappointed to see the leader of our state adding fuel to the fire.”

$250,000 was approved for a bronze statue in Hartford of the late high school basketball coach and scholarship founder Walter ‘Doc’ Hurley. A local African-American icon who is credited with transforming the lives of hundreds of young men.

$300,000 was approved for a statue in New Britain to the Borinqueneers. The segregated and highly decorated 65th infantry regiment made up mostly of Puerto Ricans that sacrificed for the country in every war since Puerto Rico was acquired by the U.S. in 1898.

There’s no question the major statues around the Capitol are to white men like Nathan Hale, the Marquis de Lafayette and Christopher Columbus. “Sometimes it makes sense to mark the accomplishments and the passing of black men and Puerto Rican soldiers, that’s what I would say,” added Gov. Malloy.

Fasano says the Governor used divisive rhetoric to distract from the issue at hand; that the state is in financial trouble and even good projects must be questioned.

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