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JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) - Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Attorney General Lynn Fitch, and State Auditor Shad White issued statements Wednesday about the future of the state’s flag.
Mississippi's current state flag features a Confederate battle emblem. Changing the flag has been a heated debate for decades.
Hosemann issued the following statement:
“I rise before you today to discuss the flag of our State.
This discussion is not prompted by fear of loss of economic development, although virtually every economic developer in our State has indicated opportunities and employment of our citizens will be adversely affected. Further, it is not prompted by the impending loss of student athletes’ ability to compete for championships, although that has occurred. Further, I recognize many of our citizens are proud of their individual ancestors, some of whom fought in battle 150 years ago. I am one of those citizens.
While important, these issues are not controlling.
What is compelling to me is the future of our children and grandchildren. They will learn together, they will work together, and they will worship together. Those who wish to fly our flag should not be typecast in any fashion. Similarly, those who are offended by our flag are sincere in their beliefs. The physical acknowledgements of our history are our guideposts and buoys which helps us to avoid reefs in the future. Destruction of history fails to change it and, over time, opens us to repeat it.
However, now we must look to a flag for our collective future to be flown over our collective assets. I, like the majority of Mississippians, am open to changing our current flag.
In my mind, our flag should bear the Seal of the Great State of Mississippi and state “In God We Trust.” I am open to bringing all citizens together to determine a banner for our future.
Some distrust the will of the citizens and fear the public dialogue which comes with a ballot. I am not one of those people. Changes in our hearts and minds arise from conversation, and in our Republic by the finality of the ballot box.
However, the Legislature in 1894 selected the current flag and the Legislature should address it today. Failing to do so only harms us and postpones the inevitable.”
Fitch issued the following statement:
"I have proudly lived my life in Mississippi and have raised my children in this great State. I could travel the world over and not find people who are as kind and generous of spirit as Mississippians. It is my personal belief that it is time for us to change our State flag to reflect the love, compassion, and conviction of our people. The addition of the motto "In God We Trust," from our State seal is the perfect way to demonstrate who we are to all. We must always remember our past — honor the good and learn from the bad. A new flag offers us a pathway forward, moving together as a people toward greater opportunities for economic growth and academic enhancement. As your Attorney General, I will always defend the will of the people, and I encourage all Mississippians to consider the value of standing unified behind a flag that tells the world that we trust in our God and follow in His message of love and mercy."
State Auditor Shad White issued the following statement:
“If there was a vote to remove the Confederate imagery from our flag, I would vote to remove it. I understand not everyone agrees. I have members of my own family who agree with me and members who do not, and all are people I love. And I’m not going to tell anyone else how to feel about it. The last thing we need is another politician lecturing others about what to do. I’m just telling you what I think - that we can have a flag that is more unifying than the one we have now.”