State House approves bill for Billy Frank Jr. statue

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — A statue honoring the late Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal member who championed treaty rights and protecting the environment, is one step closer to being on display at the U.S. Capitol.

The Olympian reported the state House of Representatives approved a bill Monday that would start a process to replace Washington’s Marcus Whitman statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection with a statue of Frank. After a bipartisan 92-5 vote, the proposal will head to the Senate.

“Billy Frank Jr. has walked every watershed to the east and the west of the mountains,” Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, said on the House floor Monday.

“He has stood in every river and collaborated with local, tribal, state, federal communities to say, ‘How do we rise together to protect the values of Washington state? How do we stand together?’ ”

Lekanoff is the first Native American woman to be elected to the chamber.

The National Statuary Hall Collection features 100 statues, with each state contributing statues of two notable deceased residents.

Washington’s honorees are Marcus Whitman and Mother Joseph.