Republican candidate for Attorney General, Andy Taggart is among the first of his party to promote a change in the state flag of Mississippi.
Taggart told Y’all Politics on Tuesday, “We need a unifying flag, not a divisive symbol, as our state’s banner. Our current state flag should be given a dignified retirement to the new Museum of Mississippi History.”
While being elected to the office of attorney general does not give you the power to change the state flag, he says the Legislature should be tasked with the decision.
In the past, lawmakers have left a flag change up to voters.
When sitting down with Y’all Politics to discuss his campaign and potential goals in office, Taggart alluded to the fact that those elected to statewide office should be more focused on the future of Mississippi than they are the past.
He told the Clarion Ledger that having someone in a statewide office who is for the possibility of a new flag would give the lawmakers the “conservative cover” that they need to step out in support of changing the flag. He believes that making this change is a key part in recruiting young people to the state, and keeping them here.
When it comes to his opponents in the race they had this to say on the flag:
Representative Mark Baker (R-Miss):
“It’s just for stirring up stuff,” Baker said. “I don’t really understand what the motivation is.” Baker believes that the decision should be in the hands of voters and not Legislature.
Jennifer Riley Collins (D-Miss):
“For me the issue is less about taking the current flag down and denying any part of the state’s history but instead more about lifting a flag that represents the pride all Mississippians have for our state.”
Lynn Fitch (R-Miss):
“Our flag is a part of our history and should be preserved,” Fitch said in a statement, “but we need to find a way to address the concerns of the Mississippi Economic Council and our business community that the volatile nature of our most visible state symbol is impacting all our great work to bring new businesses and people to our State.”
The last time a vote was held to change the state flag was in 2001. 60 percent of voters voted to leave the flag as is. Since then, Legislators have offered up several bills that would either provide a new state flag, use the former Magnolia flag, or allow for the sate to have two flags.
Several universities including Mississippi State, Jackson State, and Ole Miss as well as cities throughout the state, no longer fly the flag. Mississippi is currently the only state in the U.S. that features the Confederate battle emblem.