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Barry Goldwater Statue Unveiled in the Capitol

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The bronze likeness of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., was unveiled in Statuary Hall Wednesday, becoming the latest addition to the 50-state statue collection in the Capitol.  

“He earned the nickname ‘Mr. Arizona’ because he had a love affair with our state. It’s magnificent beauty and its freedom loving people. And Arizona loved Barry back, in part because Arizonans saw themselves in him,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said at the ceremony. “Our state never had a better champion than Barry Goldwater. And we’re so very proud that his rich legacy will continue to be honored here at the United States Capitol.” The statue’s journey to Capitol Hill was much longer than the four days it took to transport the structure from its former home in the Arizona Capitol.  

According to AZ Central , the process began in 2008 when state Sen. Adam Driggs decided Arizona needed more modern representation in the Capitol and sponsored a resolution to commission the statue. Sculptor Deborah Copenhaver Fellows crafted the statue of the former senator and 1964 presidential candidate over the course of 27 months.  

“It’s great that the day has finally arrived,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told CQ Roll Call before the ceremony. “It’s been a long time coming. This has been a lot of work by many in Arizona to raise the funding for it, to get it transported here.”  

Flake described how constituents who visited the Capitol were surprised to learn that Goldwater was not already one of Arizona’s two statues. “If you ask constituents who represents Arizona in the Capitol, in statue form, most of them say, 'Well, it’s got to be Goldwater,'” Flake said. “And we’ve had to tell them, 'No, not yet, but that time is coming.'”  

The time came late Wednesday afternoon when leaders from both chambers and both parties unveiled the statue at the end of a Statuary Hall ceremony. During the ceremony, the leaders commended the late senator as a strong, independent and unwavering leader who helped shape the Republican Party.  

“If there were a Mount Rushmore for the modern conservative movement, he would surely be on it,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, told the crowd.  

Goldwater served five terms in the Senate and made an unsuccessful run for the White House in 1964. He died in 1998. Goldwater’s statue will replace the statue of World War I veteran John Campbell Greenway, which was placed in Statuary Hall in 1930.  

According to the Capitol Visitor Center's guide to state statues, Goldwater’s likeness will be the 36th rendering of a former senator in the 100-statue collection. It has been nearly 40 years since the last unveiling of a former senator’s statue.  

Lawmakers and others said Wednesday that the latest statue in the Capitol will serve as a constant reminder of attributes they should aspire to emulate.  

Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black said in the closing prayer, “May his laudable legacy challenge us to dare more boldly, speak more honestly, and to love freedom more passionately.”  

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