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February 05, 2009

Texas House Rep Addresses Vermont Civil War Monument

Historical controversies, apparently, beget strange bedfellows: A Republican House Rep from Texas has joined the fight to protect a Vermont Civil War monument.

In case you haven't heard: On January 29, the Burlington Free Press reported that the mega-retailer Wal-Mart wants to open a 144,000 square-foot store near a monument that honors Vermont's Civil War dead. The monument, as Montpelier historian Howard Coffin told the Free Press, is near the Wilderness Battlefield in Locust Grove, Virginia, and honors the famous 1st Vermont Brigade.

"This site in Wilderness is Vermont's most important Civil War site, surpassing Gettysburg," Coffin told Free Press reporter Terri Hallenbeck.

Two days later, the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia, reported that Republican House Rep Ted Poe has asked Wal-Mart to withdraw its application. "The right thing to do is for Wal-Mart to exercise its higher corporate responsibility, even if the land is zoned accordingly and the final decision is up to the Orange County supervisors," Poe's legislative director, Alan Knapp, told the Lance-Star. "We're asking for them to step back and reconsider."

According to Federal Election Commission data, Wal-Mart didn't give Poe any money during the 2007-2008 cycle. By contrast, between May 2007 and June 2008, the Arkansas-based multinational gave $8000 to Rep. Eric Cantor, a Republican House Rep from the congressional district where the Vermont Civil War monument is located.

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