SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – A resolution to honor not only Utah’s, but the nation’s first female state senator takes a step forward at the State Capitol.
Statues of Brigham Young and Philo Farnsworth represent our state in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.
State Senator Todd Weiler says it’s time to replace Farnsworth.
“Philo has had three decades in the sunlight, you know, he’s had his time to shine. I’m not anti-Philo, but I think it’s Martha’s time,” said Weiler, (R ) Woods Cross.
Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon famously defeated her husband in 1896 to become the first female state senator in the country.
She’s known as a fearless fighter for women’s rights and public health.
“She took on men at their own game, in medical school, and politics and came out on top. I just think she’s a great example, especially in this day and age. You know, we’re talking about the me too movement, we’re talking about getting more women involved in politics. She was a true pioneer,” said Weiler.
His resolution would use private funds to replace Farnsworth with Hughes Cannon in 2020, 100 years after the ratification the 19th Amendment.
As a symbol of that day in 1920, senators marked their support for the resolution with a yellow rose, but there were some without the rose.
Those opposed say the Senate carefully considered both figures back in the 1980’s, and that decision shouldn’t be reversed.
Senator Margaret Dayton is one of them. She says Farnsworth’s contributions to the state, the nation and the world are profound.
“You think about the lives he saved with the development of the baby incubator. You think of the lives he saved with the development of technology he developed for World War II. You think of how our lives are affected with developments he was working on at the time he died that lead to the creation of the cell phone,” said Dayton, (R) Orem.
The resolution passed the Senate on a 21-7 vote. It’s now off to the House for consideration.
Senator Weiler says he has been contacted by KUED and the City of Lehi as possible suitors for the Farnsworth statue, if it is removed from Washington D.C.