A conservative Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, who happens to be black, has recently emerged as one of the most spirited advocates of keeping Confederate statues up in the Old Dominion State.
"We have a legal responsibility to protect our war memorials," said Adam Roosevelt ("I've heard all the jokes about my name!"), Republican nominee against Democratic Delegate and Minority Whip Alfonso H. Lopez in the 49th District (Arlington, Virginia).
Many Virginia Republicans on the ballot this fall argue it would be too costly for taxpayers to relocate or tear down all of the statues across the state honoring Confederate figures. In Charlottesville, Virginia, site of the violence last month that sparked the debate over statues, there is a $300,000-$700,000 price tag on the removal of statues of Confederate heroes Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Stonewall Jackson.
But small businessman and U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Roosevelt approaches the issue from an entirely different perspective.
"Under Virginia Code's Statute 15.2, the state has a responsibility to protect its war memorials," he told us. "So, if we violated that statute, we might easily go into Arlington Cemetery, which is in my district, and dig up the memorials to many who died in the Civil War. Our history is protected under this code, period."
Roosevelt also believes strongly "you don't take history down. How do you avoid repeating history's mistakes if you don't see history?"
As for the argument the Confederate memorials belong in a museum rather than outdoors, Roosevelt was dismissive. In his words, "make it easier on me to take my daughter to see what we should not do again, OK?"
A native Virginian and son of a U.S. Navy veteran, Sgt. Roosevelt served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. The primary planks in his campaign manifesto are reducing taxes on business and securing tax credits for major businesses in Northern Virginia.
Roosevelt is a big booster of technology as the driving force of tomorrow's employment.
"CACI and General Dynamics are big employers in my district," he said. "And technology is the way to go for the future. Agriculture is also a major industry, and it's a changing industry. Cyberspace and related technological areas will build the jobs to maintain American agriculture in the future."
Given the current political climate throughout Virginia, however, it is the issue of the statues Adam Roosevelt increasingly faces at candidate forums and in his daily canvassing of homes throughout the district.
"And I say the same thing: We have a legal responsibility to protect our history," he said. "You know where I stand."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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