WASHINGTON - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is sticking with his plan to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with a woman.
Lew announced last month that as part of a redesign of the $10 note, he hoped to put a woman on the bill. The department called for the public to weigh in on who should be honored. He said he expected a final decision soon.
"I think we have waited long enough,'' Lew said of the move to put a woman on U.S. paper currency for the first time in 100 years. He made his remarks Wednesday during an appearance at the Brookings Institution.
The initial announcement to remove Hamilton triggered a public outcry. Critics of the decision complained that Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury secretary, should be left on the $10 bill. Instead, they argued, a woman should be featured on the $20 bill in place of Andrew Jackson, whom many historians view less favorably because of his treatment of American Indians.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote in a blog post that he was "appalled'' by Lew's plans to replace Hamilton, calling him "without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history.''
Asked about all the controversy, Lew said that he wanted to move quickly to honor a woman and that the next bill scheduled for redesign to improve anti-counterfeiting features is the $10 bill.
Lew said that Hamilton's image would be retained in some way on the redesigned bill. But that position has drawn fire from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said a woman should not have to share the $10 bill with a man.
The Treasury has said that once a woman is selected, it will aim to complete the redesign by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.