PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey is responding to requests to remove Arizona’s six Confederate monuments.
“I don’t think that one person should decide these issues,” Ducey told Mac & Gaydos on KTAR News 92.3 FM. “I’m not going to be going around tearing down monuments and memorials.
“There’s a citizen review process that we have to get a memorial built and there’s a citizens review process to have memorials removed.”
Ducey encouraged people who are interested in the issue one way or another to participate in that process.
Most of Arizona’s monuments are spread around the state in rural areas, with the exception of the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza marker near the State Capitol.
“Arizona, I want to always be a welcoming place,” Ducey said. “I think the history of this is something that of course happened.”
Arizona was briefly a Confederate territory and a Confederate force occupied Tucson for a few weeks during the Civil War. The state joined the union in 1912, according to the state historian.
“I don’t want to erase history,” Ducey said. “I think often times talking about what happened in the past and then putting it in context, and then talking about the decisions and sacrifices that were to improve our country to make it more of a place for equality for all of our citizens is important.
“And at the same time, I understand why there are strong feelings on both sides of this.”
Maricopa County NAACP President Ann Hart was one of the members of the group calling on the governor to remove the monuments, as part of a nationwide push.
“To many African-Americans, the Confederate flag is a symbol of racial terrorism,” Hart said.
“It represents the battle fought over the enslavement of black people [and] a symbol of resistance to the civil rights of African-Americans,” she said.
KTAR News’ Kathy Cline and the Associated Press contributed to this report.