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Campus Notebook: Shuffling Truman

Seven years ago, the governor of Missouri signed a bill to put a statue of former President Harry Truman in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

[IMGCAP(1)]The project stalled there, with officials waiting for Congressional approval.

But no one, it turns out, had sent an official request to the Architect of the Capitol — a fact discovered when Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) recently inquired about the project.

“It just got lost in the shuffle,— said Jim Hubbard, Carnahan’s spokesman.

The discovery led Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to send the request last month, and the Joint Committee on the Library is now reviewing it.

Each state can pick two statues for Statuary Hall that honor well-known citizens. (Some of the statues are now in the Capitol Visitor Center.)

Missouri’s now are former Sens. Francis Preston Blair Jr. (D) and Thomas Hart Benton (D). Truman’s statue would replace Blair’s.

Though Blair is still an important figure in Missouri history, “there are many tributes out there,— including the Blair House, which acts as the White House guest house, Hubbard said.

A Truman statue would “honor the one and only president from the state of Missouri,— he said. Blair’s statue would be relocated, perhaps to the state Legislature.

But it could be a while before the switch is made: Missouri officials haven’t yet commissioned an artist to create the statue, though Nixon has said it will be paid for by private funds.

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