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Martha Hughes Cannon Statue preview unveiled by Artist and lawmakers
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Martha Hughes Cannon Statue preview unveiled by Artist and lawmakers

(A replica of the statue honoring Martha Hughes Cannon. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – She’s referred to as one of the most prominent figures in Utah and American history.  Now, people at Utah’s State Capitol will have a chance to preview the statue the state has commissioned to honor Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon.

Ancestors of Cannon were on hand to see the two-foot replica of the statue being sent to Washington D.C.  There were small unveiling presentations on both the House and Senate floors, leading to standing ovations in both chambers.

“She’s the first woman to be elected to a state senate in the United States,” says Representative Karen Kwan, who served on the Martha Hughes Cannon Statue Oversight Committee.

Kwan says 2020 is an important year in the history of women’s suffrage.  It’s the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Plus, she says, “[It has been] 150 years since the territorial legislature of Utah unanimously voted to adopt women’s suffrage in 1870.  We were a leader from the very beginning.”

(Artist Ben Hammond, center, poses for a photo with Representative Karen Kwan. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Senator Deidre Henderson says voters in Utah were ahead of their time when it comes to voter equality.  She says other states were essentially scoffing at women’s suffrage after Utah made it law.

“An act to provide women’s suffrage in North Carolina was introduced in that state.  The North Carolina General Assembly promptly tabled the bill by sending it to the committee on insane asylums,” Henderson says.

The full version of the statue will be more than seven feet tall and will be placed in the US Capitol’s National Statuary Hall in August.  It will join the statue of early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints President Brigham Young, replacing the statue of television pioneer Philo T. Farnsworth.

The replica will be placed, temporarily, on the first floor of the Utah Capitol Building.

“She’ll be there, on display, for the rest of the session so that everybody that comes to the Capitol will get a chance to see her,” Henderson says.