Girl Scouts from Troop 727 in Rome talk with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle while they prepare for a press conference Monday. They joined other Girl Scouts in presenting more than 10,000 signatures that support renaming the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah after the Girl Scouts’ founder, Juliette Gordon Low. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Savannah lawmaker still hopes to name bridge after Girl Scouts founder

A Savannah lawmaker has not given up hope that the General Assembly will pursue a proposal to name the bridge spanning the river in his hometown after Juliette Gordon Low.

State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, said Monday that his proposal to name what is known as the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah after the founder of the Girl Scouts is not dead, even though it appears to have stalled.

“We’ve got until the 29th at midnight to get this onto a resolution naming the bridge for Juliette Gordon Low,” he said. “We’re not going to give up.”

Stephens’ proposal, House Resolution 1054, did not receive approval by the chamber before the Feb. 28 “crossover” deadline, an administrative benchmark for legislation to have a clear chance of passing this year.

Stephens joined a group of Girl Scouts who were at the statehouse Monday to celebrate the 106th anniversary of the organization and deliver petitions totaling 10,000 signatures to the General Assembly urging it to name the bridge after Low.

The suspension bridge has been associated with ardent segregationist and former Georgia Gov. Eugene Talmadge since it was constructed in 1991, and signs attest to that.

However, Stephens says, the structure has never officially been named. He has proposed naming the bridge after Low, a Savannah native.

Cheryl Legette, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, said it only made sense to name the bridge after Low, who is recognized for having included girls of all backgrounds in her organization.

“She was a bridge builder, and we can’t think of a better symbol for Juliette’s legacy than a bridge that connects people to one another,” she said.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle welcomed the Girl Scouts to the statehouse Monday, but he did not mention the bridge in his remarks. Stephens said he does not know whether Cagle supports the naming. Cagle left the press conference before it ended and was not available for questions.

“Like all local issues, the Lt. Governor believes this is best decided with a consensus among the members elected to represent the Savannah community,” said Danny Kanso, Cagle’s spokesman.

Locals have said they were ready for the name to change. In September, the Savannah City Council passed a resolution urging state officials to call the structure the Savannah Bridge.

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