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Published: Sunday, 2/28/2010

Vote for Edison

PUBLIC interest in who will represent Ohio in a collection of historic statues at the U.S. Capitol exceeded anything the legislative committee charged with choosing a new statue expected. In large part, that is why the Ohio General Assembly's National Statuary Committee has decided to put the selection up for a public vote.

The top pick of the committee, led by state Sen. Mark Wagoner of Ottawa Hills, was Thomas Alva Edison, the most famous son of Milan, Ohio, and indisputably the most prolific inventor in history. Ohioans should enthusiastically second that nomination.

The committee began with a field of 93 Ohio candidates before narrowing the list to 10 finalists. It includes such outstanding choices as Toledo abolitionist James Ashley, Uncle Tom's Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe, Olympic great Jesse Owens, and airplane inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Each notable brought high honor to Ohio with admirable missions and accomplishments. But Thomas Edison overshadows the others for the breadth of what he achieved and how it changed the world.

From humble beginnings in a small northern Ohio village, Thomas Edison rose to greatness with inventions that electrified the planet, from the incandescent lamp to the phonograph, electric generating system, and movie camera.

By the time Mr. Edison died at age 84 in 1931, he held nearly 1,100 patents on practical devices that refined or revolutionized the way humans live and work.

Despite his worldwide acclaim, the inventor kept close ties with his hometown and state. He traveled often to Milan, where three of his children are buried. He visited local schools, leaving contributions for their science departments. And his inspiration lives on, especially in Edison Technology Incubators and Edison Technology Centers around the state sponsored by the Ohio Department of Development.

There is no better Ohio choice than Thomas Edison to be memorialized, now and for future generations, with a statue at the U.S. Capitol.

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