A western Missouri lawmaker is apologizing again for a controversial August Facebook post.
The Missouri House Ethics Committee will hold a November preliminary hearing involving State Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola.
Representative Love wrote on Facebook in August that he hoped that the vandals of the General Sterling Price Confederate statue at the Springfield National Cemetery would be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”
“I probably am the only legislator/lawmaker in the state of Missouri that called that act of vandalism as a crime,” Love says. “However, I did it in a very crude way, and I have since apologized.”
Love has apologized for his words, saying he does not advocate violence toward the vandal.
The Osceola Republican says voters in his district have remained supportive.
“I know this: my constituents in my (125th) district and all over southwest Missouri are behind me,” says Love. “They believe it was an act of vandalism, especially the veterans.”
Love, who was first elected to the House in 2010, is in his third term. He represents Benton, Cedar, Hickory and St. Clair counties.
Love has 20 days to respond to the Missouri House Ethics Committee regarding their upcoming hearing.
House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, delivered an emotional House floor speech during the September veto session in Jefferson City. She blasted Love’s post and wrote a letter to him, saying that he had “forfeited the right to hold elected office.”
Beatty testified Monday in the House Ethics Committee’s closed session. Afterward, Beatty told the Capitol Press Corps that she’s disappointed and frustrated with Love’s Facebook post.
Leader Beatty added that she would speak to Love, if he reaches out to her.
Representative Love tells Missourinet that he would tell Beatty he is sorry and that he cannot undo the words, adding that he has also apologized to members of Missouri’s Legislative Black Caucus.
He also wants Beatty to support his proposed Missouri Heritage Protection Act.
“I would turn around and ask her (Beatty) if she believes that it is a crime to desecrate and vandalize an object of remembrance, such as a tombstone or a monument,” Love says.
Love describes himself as a “passionate historian”. He notes his father served in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, and that his 34-year-old son has served in the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Love has filed the Missouri Heritage Protection Act for two straight years, and says he could never get a hearing from House GOP leaders.
The proposed legislation would prohibit any agency or political subdivision from relocating, renaming or removing any state historic military monument and memorial.
During a phone interview with Missourinet Monday evening, Love says he warned Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ (R) office in August that the Confederate monument at the Springfield National Cemetery could be targeted by vandals.
The Springfield National Cemetery is overseen by the National Cemetery Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA website says the Springfield National Cemetery is located on what was once the Kickapoo Prairie, and that “many men who died” at the Battle of Wilson Creek during the Civil War are buried there.
The VA website notes that there are several monuments and memorials at the Springfield National Cemetery, including the Sterling Price monument, which was dedicated in August 1901. The website also says a Union Memorial known as the T.J. Bailey monument is located there, along with a marble pillar in memory of Union Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon. The website also says the Battle of Wilson Creek Memorial is located at the cemetery, which “commemorates 501 Confederate soldiers who died of wounds or sickness at the Battles of Wilson Creek and Springfield.” A monument to honor Pearl Harbor survivors was dedicated in 1992.
Love says his bill would protect all monuments and memorials, including the French-Indian War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, Spanish-American War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Click here to listen to the full 11-minute interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Rep. Warren Love, which was recorded on October 16, 2017: