Utah Votes to Send Martha Hughes Cannon Statue to U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall in 2020

As the nation’s first female state senator, a physician and one of Utah’s leading suffragists, Dr. Martha “Mattie” Hughes Cannon to become one of only 10 statues of women showcased in U.S. Capitol.

SALT LAKE CITY--()--With 2020 marking the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and celebrating the Utah Territory women’s first vote in the modern nation on February 14, 1870, the Utah House of Representatives voted today (67-3), in step with the Utah Senate, to support sending a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon to the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. The statue resolution, promoted by Utah nonprofit Better Days 2020, will be funded through private donations and in-kind support. The Martha Hughes Cannon statue is estimated to arrive in Washington, D.C., in early 2020 to champion Utah and the West’s role in the suffrage movement and commemorate the anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

“What an exciting day for Utah and the West. I am so pleased our senators and representatives understand the importance and significance of this project,” said Better Days 2020 CEO Neylan McBaine. “We thank Utah Sen. Todd Weiler and Utah Rep. Becky Edwards for their unwavering support of this resolution and carrying out the creation of the statue. The Martha Hughes Cannon statue is part of a valuable effort identifying gaps between what we see in our public iconography, and what we value and hold dear. If we truly do value women, their contributions to public and private life and to our modern culture, then we should have powerful visual reflections of that value in our public images.”

Martha “Mattie” Hughes Cannon aspired to be a physician at a time when women rarely went to college. She ultimately earned four degrees before the age of 25, set up a private medical practice, and became the resident physician at Deseret Hospital. A leader in the Utah Women's Suffrage Association, Cannon testified to U.S. congressional committees and was a featured speaker at national suffrage conventions. As a state senator, she authored Utah’s sanitation laws, proposed several legislative bills that revolutionized public health, and was a founder and member of Utah's first state Board of Health.

Echoing McBaine’s sentiment, Better Days 2020 Legislative Director Jen Christiansen added, “This was a big win for Utah women and all women nationwide. Philo T. Farnsworth was an amazing American inventor, and his statue will always be revered no matter where it calls home. When Martha arrives in D.C. in 2020, the entire country will be celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, women’s leadership and advancement. After almost 35 years in the U.S. Capitol, what perfect timing for Philo T. Farnsworth to give the stage to another incredible STEM and suffragist icon.”

The Better Days 2020 campaign is comprised of strategic educational, legislative and creative initiatives, which include projects such as the development of a Utah women’s history curriculum for 4th, 5th, 7th and 11th grades, with a pilot underway in a large Utah school district scheduled for February 2018; a historic walking tour of significant suffragist sites supported by the Salt Lake City mayor; and management efforts with Utah’s federal delegation to pass a bipartisan U.S. Senate resolution giving Salt Lake City, Utah, its rightful claim as a major player in the suffrage movement; among other key projects.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Better Days 2020 executive team members are available for interviews.

ABOUT BETTER DAYS 2020

Better Days 2020 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history. The year 2020 commemorates women’s history in Utah, celebrating the Utah Territory women’s first vote in 1870, as well as the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted all U.S. women the right to vote. To learn more and/or support, visit www.betterdays2020.org.

Contacts

for Better Days 2020
Lee Rech, 801-556-8423
lbr@betterdays2020.org

Contacts

for Better Days 2020
Lee Rech, 801-556-8423
lbr@betterdays2020.org