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Legislature has spoken: Farnsworth needs to make way for Cannon

Legislature has spoken: Farnsworth needs to make way for Cannon

(Jacob Wiegand, KSL, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature has spoken: Philo T. Farnsworth needs to make way for Martha Hughes Cannon in the U.S. Capitol.

Changes made in the House to SCR1, the resolution calling for the switch, were approved 21-7 by the Senate on Thursday without debate. The resolution now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his action.

The sponsor of SCR1, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, told the Senate he is "really excited about celebrating" the 100th anniversary in 2020 of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

Cannon is the nation's first woman elected to serve as a state senator. While Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote, the first votes cast by women were in Utah.

Farnsworth, an inventor who has been called the father of television, is one of Utah's two statues allowed in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol to depict notable people in each state's history. Utah's other statue is of Brigham Young.

The resolution says Cannon, a doctor, was "an outspoken champion for public health issues and was a powerful advocate for women's rights," and it requests that the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress approve the replacement.

Initially, the resolution called for the creation of a commission to oversee moving Farnsworth out and Cannon in, but after changes made in the House, that group will now be created through separate legislation.

The project is to be funded through private donations. Weiler said the sculptor of a statue of Cannon on the Utah Capitol grounds said that could be copied rather than commissioning a new sculpture.

Weiler said that's "a wonderful option to have."

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