Ridgeway fears Confederate Flag issue distracts from Charleston tragedy

by | June 22, 2015 7:12 pm

Rep. Robert Ridgeway III said Monday that he’s proud of the way South Carolina and Charleston have handled the tragic church shooting in that city, and that he hopes the Confederate Flag issue doesn’t detract from that event.
“I don’t want the flag issue to pull attention away from what our ultimate problem is,” Ridgeway said. “It’s an issue of the heart, where we should look at each other as people and not as different races.”
Gov. Nikki Haley called Monday for the Confederate Flag to be removed from the State House grounds. It was moved to the Confederate Monument from atop the statehouse in July 2000, after being placed atop the State House in April 1961 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.
“To me personally, I don’t care if the flag stays up or comes down,” Ridgeway said Monday night. “I think the flag itself represents a time in our history and the history of our state when we were probably doing things wrong. It’s a reminder that we should never go there again.”
Haley said Monday that she will use her authority as governor to call legislators back for a special session this summer to vote on the issue. Sen. Kevin Johnson said after her announcement that he believes while the process won’t be easy, the votes are there to remove the flag to “another appropriate location,” which he believes is the S.C. State Museum.
State law requires a two-thirds’ vote from both bodies of the General Assembly for any issue regarding the flag, including removal.
“What I’m afraid of is that the issue of the flag is diverting attention away from what the important issue is, and that is, again, that it’s an issue of the heart,” Ridgeway said. “I am proud of the way South Carolina has handled the situation in Charleston. I think of all the citizens that have come together, holding hands, praying together and banding together and the camaraderie, and I hope it shows the rest of the nation that we deal with incidents differently than some other places.”
While Johnson said he would vote for the flag’s removal during a special session later this summer, Ridgeway said he is currently undecided, and will consider all constituents’ opinions.
“I have had people call me and tell me that the flag needs to come down; I have had others call me and tell me that it needs to stay up,” he said. “I represent everyone in District 64, not just me. I’m going to have to vote the way most of the people in District 64 tell me to vote.”
“I will just have to wait and see how everyone feels about the issue,” Ridgeway concluded.

comments » 12

  1. Comment by Zack Pasquale

    June 22, 2015 at 20:25

    What????? We do not want you to take a poll determine how you vote? Do you think that is how Joe Riley leads. Not at all. Joe Riley leads by what he thinks is the right thing to do. Leaders are not afraid to make a decision. Abraham Lincoln was not afraid to take a stand on slavery but he did and it cost him his life. There is a country song that says, “You got to stand for something or you will fall for anything.” Do not be afraid to lead and make a decision. Leaders often times have to make decisions that are not popular but are the right thing to do. Show leadership and let us know one way or the other. We need to know if you are a coward and afraid to lead.

  2. Comment by Toni Baker

    June 22, 2015 at 20:36

    I agree that the flag should come down. When I was a child, our next door neighbors were a black family, Walter and Amelia Epps. My mother taught us to respect them the same as white people and we did. She said the only difference was our skin color and that God was the one who chose that. I also want Rep. Ridgeway and Senator Kevin Johnson to call for the abolishment of the Confederate Memorial Day holiday that all state employees get in May. If would be hypocritical and offensive to continue allowing the holiday that represents the reason the flag still remains.
    Toni Baker

  3. Comment by David Thomas

    June 22, 2015 at 21:09

    Is this how you vote on every issue? You seem like a robot. You need to set up a call center poll the community on every issue before the House. You are just a mouth piece. If your constituency say to vote a certain way then that is how you are going to vote? What if it is an issue that you are personally against?

    We need leadership not a mouth piece. Leaders are born it is very clear that we need to elect someone who is not afraid to lead.

  4. Comment by Jim Jacobs

    June 22, 2015 at 22:33

    Representative Ridgeway is exactly what his title says he his, he’s a representative for district 64. And that’s what he is doing representing his distress abs making the decision they want. Come one people!!

  5. Comment by Jim Jacobs

    June 22, 2015 at 22:34

    Representative Ridgeway is exactly what his title says he his, he’s a representative for district 64. And that’s what he is doing representing his district and making the decision they want. Come one people!!

  6. Comment by James Johnson

    June 23, 2015 at 11:14

    Wonder if he takes a poll on other issues when he has to vote.
    To say “I don’t care if the flag comes down or not” is so pathetic. This is exactly what the Charleston Tragedy is all about. Grow a pair and stop hiding. Enough is enough.

  7. Comment by Margaret Walker

    June 23, 2015 at 15:39

    As a registered voter in District 64, who has never missed an election – large or small, I would like for Representative Ridgeway to know that I want and expect his vote in surporting the flag being removed. Yes, I understand that to some it is “heritage.” But to me, it represents hatred. To display it on taxpayer property is tantamount to flying a swastika. It, too, is a part of history but it is my belief not one elected official here in the USA would hesitate to take a stand against flying a swastika on public property. I also don’t believe a poll of constituents would be required to determine how any elected official would respond. Really!!!! Where do they do that ?????

  8. Comment by James

    June 23, 2015 at 17:49

    Rep. Ridgeway, I will remember your comments during the next election cycle…. Time to think of a person to run against him during the democratic primary!!!!

  9. Comment by James

    June 23, 2015 at 17:58

    This comment has been removed due to obscene or derogatory remarks. Manninglive.com supports free speech and cordial discourse between our readers, but we will not tolerate such comments. Subsequent similar comments are subject to banning.

  10. Comment by Jessica Thompson

    June 23, 2015 at 19:54

    Stand up and be counted. Don’t hide and whisper when it is time to vote. No matter how you are going to vote. Be bold so your constituants will know where you stand. Your decision on this issue will determine how strong your opposition will be during the next election. You need to remember the racial makeup in your district. We deserve to know before you vote where you stand. You need to issue a press release.

  11. Comment by Margaret Walker

    June 24, 2015 at 06:19

    THANK YOU for your YES vote to amended the Sine Die resolution allowing the vote to take down the Confederate battle flag.

  12. Comment by Jerry Johnson

    June 24, 2015 at 18:10

    Every week, before I get my paycheck that I work hard to earn, the state of SC has already commandeered a portion that it believes that it deserves in order to provide protection and services for the good of all it’s citizens. I don’t need a poll to tell me that I find offense in my tax dollars helping support flying a flag that is demeaning to me and countless SC citizens. Mr. Ridgeway, if you cannot understand that, you as well as the flag needs to go! Please add my comment to your poll.

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