The Latest: Girl Scouts lobby with cookies for bridge name
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on a Georgia lawmaker’s push to a name a bridge after the founder of the Girl Scouts, rather than a white segregationist (all times local):
Thin Mints and Samoas were in abundance inside the Georgia Capitol as Girl Scouts urged lawmakers to replace the name of a white segregationist by naming a Savannah bridge after their organization’s founder.
The scouts spoke at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, standing beside a huge illustration of the bridge. Hundreds of scouts had signed it in support of Rep. Ron Stephens’ proposal to name the bridge in honor of Juliette Gordon Low.
The bridge has long been named for former Gov. Eugene Talmadge, but Stephens says he recently confirmed that the name was never official.
Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia CEO Sue Else says naming the bridge after Low would be especially fitting, as scouts frequently hold ceremonies on bridges when they graduate to their next rank.
A coastal Georgia bridge bears a white segregationist’s name, but a state lawmaker says it can be renamed for the founder of the Girl Scouts because it was never formally named after former Gov. Eugene Talmadge.
Rep. Ron Stephens says he recently learned that legislation to name a Savannah bridge for Talmadge passed the House in the early 1990s, but never passed the Senate.
Buoyed by this technicality, the Savannah Republican introduced a bill Tuesday to name it after Juliette Gordon Low, the Savannah woman who founded the Girl Scouts. Hundreds of Girl Scouts have gathered at the state Capitol to support the measure.
Stephens says his bill has more than 50 legislative supporters and will likely get more, once others realize the bridge was never officially named after Talmadge.
Hundreds of Girl Scouts are expected to gather in the Georgia Capitol, offering milk and cookies as they try to persuade lawmakers to get their founder’s name affixed to a Savannah bridge that’s currently named after a white segregationist.
Coinciding with the scouts’ visit Tuesday, Rep. Ron Stephens, a Republican from Savannah, plans to introduce a bill to remove former Gov. Eugene Talmadge’s name from the bridge and rename it after Juliette Gordon Low. She founded the Girl Scouts in the coastal city in 1912.
Talmadge, who served three terms between 1933 and 1942, defended whites-only primary elections and criticized the New Deal for offering blacks a hope of economic parity with whites.
Stephens himself has expressed doubts though that his colleagues would risk angering their conservative base in an election year.