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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The nation’s first elected black governor says improving education is more important than spending tax money to remove Confederate monuments.

Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder said during an interview on C-SPAN Thursday his election in 1989 showed how Virginia had changed. He said the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August does not represent the city or the state.

The 86-year-old Wilder spoke of problems around the country, including in Richmond’s schools. He said he believes it’s more important to improve the quality of education now “than this talk about destroying and taking down.”

Wilder said it will be up to others to decide whether the state-owned statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee should remain on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. Richmond’s mayor has appointed a commission to consider what to do with city-owned Confederate statues.