Sheheen calls for Confederate flag to come down

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen wants the Confederate flag removed from the Statehouse.

Sheheen made the following statement Wednesday:

Today, we are charting a new path for South Carolina focusing on the future, not the past. Leadership matters, and we must speak up for things that are right and abandon the divisive politics of the past," said gubernatorial nominee and state Sen. Sheheen. "To compete in the global economy we must welcome and keep the best and the brightest, so we must fly a flag that brings us all together. We must be a state that looks forward, towards a future of possibilities not backwards to discord. To honor our forebears and to promote unity, it's time to move the Confederate Flag from the front lawn of our Statehouse.

Rep. Bakari Sellers and mayors from major cities around the state joined Sheheen "to promote unity and fly the American flag instead of the Confederate flag at the Statehouse."

Of those leaders, in our area, Steve Wukela, Mayor of Florence supported Sheheen's stance on the flag. Meanwhile, Gov. Haley's campaign believes Sheheen's effort to remove the flag is a political stunt.

The following response is from Rob Godfrey, Haley for Governor Deputy Campaign Manager:

Vince Sheheen has gone his entire political career - almost a decade and a half - without doing a thing to remove the flag, and now he's trying to make it an issue 30 days before an election. Vince has run out of things to say about the economy, education, and ethics reform, so he's trying to inject this sensitive issue into the campaign at the last minute. It's desperate and irresponsible.

Governor Haley has long said she respects the bipartisan compromise that was reached in 2000 to remove the flag from the Capitol dome. If the General Assembly wants to revisit the issue that's fine, but any such effort should be done in a thoughtful bipartisan way and not in the heat of the political campaign season.

Controversy swirled in 2011 when the top officer of the NAACP called for Haley to bring down the Confederate flag.

At that time, Haley said there was not enough support to move the flag.

Two thirds of the Senate and the House would have to vote in favor of the flag's removal.

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