CALIFORNIA: State Seeks To Place Statue Of Sally Ride In US Capitol Building

Via the New York Times:

If California legislators succeed, a statue of Sally Ride, astronaut, physicist and educator, will be enshrined in the nation’s Capitol. But first they will have to remove an impediment: the statue of the Rev. Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Catholic priest who established California missions and is about to be canonized by Pope Francis. In the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection, there is not room for both. Since 1864, Congress has invited every state to install two statues. In 2000, a new law allowed states to swap an old sculpture for a new one, which is how California dispensed with Thomas Starr King, a minister and politician, for Ronald Reagan.

A likeness of Dr. Ride in her NASA flight suit could join other notable Americans, including George Washington, Barry Goldwater, Will Rogers, Robert E. Lee, Brigham Young, Helen Keller and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Dr. Ride would be the first acknowledged gay person honored with a statue in the collection. There is bipartisan support for replacing the statue of Father Serra — which has been on display in the Capitol since 1931 — with one depicting the first American woman in space. The statue of Reagan, installed in 2007, is not eligible; the law requires statues to remain for at least 10 years.

The current collection of statues can be viewed here.