KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County Executive Frank White has struck down an ordinance that would have asked voters to decide if they wanted to remove Andrew Jackson statues at county courthouses.
Ordinance 5274 would have put the question of statue removal on the general election ballot for Jackson County voters. White vetoed the ordinance Wednesday.
The Jackson County Legislature approved the ordinance last week in a 7-2 vote, with Jalen Anderson and Ron Finley dissenting.
In issuing the veto, White said he hopes that legislators will change their positions.
“I am saddened to say, in the days, weeks and months that have followed the tragic murder of George Floyd, the Jackson County Legislature has not acted courageously. In fact, there has not even been a resolution of the Legislature condemning the horrific murder of George Floyd, nor a statement saying that Black Lives Matter in Jackson County,” White said.
“I am vetoing this Ordinance, not just in the hopes that Legislators will reconsider their position, but also to allow them the individual opportunity to take a clear position and directly tell the residents of our community if they believe the statues should be taken down or not.”
What to do with statues of people who enslaved African Americans has been the topic of national debate since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.
Statues of Jackson currently sit outside county courthouses in Kansas City and Independence.
Jackson served as the 7th President of the United States from 1829 to 1837. During his lifetime, he enslaved hundreds of people and signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which resulted in the forced removal and deaths of many Native Americans on the Trail of Tears.