2 p.m. update: Bay News 9's Dalia Dangerfield reports that a motion has passed to relocate the confederate statue.

The vote came after about two and a half hours of public comments. About 100 people had signed up to speak.

Four commissioners voted yes: Al Higginbotham, Les Miller, Sandra Murman, and Pat Kemp. Two others, Stacy White and Ken Hagan, voted no. 

Commissioner Victor Crist had stated earlier he would be out of town and would miss Wednesday's meeting.

PREVIOUS STORY: Hillsborough County Commissioners are expected to vote Wednesday on a controversial proposal to remove a Confederate monument that has stood in front of the old Tampa courthouse for more than 100 years.

  • County, city officials gathered at monument July 18
  • Veterans groups fighting to keep statue where it is
  • Compromise involves moving statue to private cemetery


Several Tampa city council members joined a number of county commissioners and state elected officials at the monument on Tuesday, one day before the vote, to show their support for removing it.

"These monuments were put on courthouse properties across the Deep South and we all know why," said County Commissioner Les Miller, who is pushing the proposal to remove the statue. "We wanted to go in there for justice, and they wanted to remind us who actually ran the counties. Times have changed, and it's time for this monument to come down."

Commissioner Pat Kemp voted to remove the monument in June, and she said she plans to vote that way again. She's hopeful a majority of her fellow commissioners will do the same.

"We'll be writing a new history for Tampa Bay, a history of diversity and inclusiveness, and we will be bringing it to a vote and that's why it's going to happen," she said.

However, residents and groups opposed to the move made their voices heard, as well. During Kemp's speech, for example, a heckler yelled that it should be brought to a vote of the people.

In addition, several veterans groups released public statements in support of keeping the monument where it is.

"We are asking the four commissioners who courageously voted to keep the monument where it is to hold the line," said David McCallister, Chairman of the "Save Their Honor" Veterans coalition. "We will hold accountable any politician who changes their vote for political expediency."

Resident Andy Strickland, who opposes moving the monument, attended Tuesday's rally to protest.

"I think this opens the door to other monuments being removed," said Strickland. "All veterans monuments matter, and this will not be the radical left's last."

Meanwhile, Commissioner Victor Crist is working on a compromise. A spokesman with Crist's office said he's found a private cemetery that has tentatively agreed to take the monument, although nothing has been finalized.

Crist is out of town, and will not be at Wednesday's vote. He has asked the County Administrator to present his plan at the July 19 meeting.