BELL COUNTY, Texas – The question on whether to remove the Bell County Confederate statue swirled for months. But on Monday, County Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of keeping the statue in its place.
The statue will remain in front of the County Courthouse until Bell County voters can decide. In order for this to happen, the county will need state legislature’s approval for the topic to be put on a ballot.
Currently, court commissioners can only have a referendum regrading county property such as statues if their population is less than 40,000.
“Our population threshold exceeds that number [nearly 400,000 Bell County residents], so what will be required is a change in state law. That’s what we intend to pursue,” said Judge David Blackburn.
The statue has been the topic of controversy for several years, as many said it is tied to racism.
“That statue represents hate. It represents oppression of my ancestors. It represents the Confederacy War, which that war is known to be fought over slavery,” said Patrick Arryn, an advocate for the statute’s removal.
Other Bell County residents said it simply means no harm.
“Once again, its an inanimate object. Yes, it has ties to the Confederacy. But the Civil War was not all about slavery,” added Donna Hoskins, a Bell County resident.
Blackburn said he is confident the State Legislature will decide to change the provision, which would allow counties with a larger population to vote on matters affecting statues.
If this occurs, Bell County voters may be able to decide in a 2021 election.