The first-term speaker did not back down from his position, but told the crowd that the Legislature was not in session so there was nothing that could be done right now about changing the state flag. Instead, he said the focus should be on ensuring Republicans maintain control of the House in this year’s elections.
The highly partisan Republican crowd, no doubt, agreed with the speaker on that point. Gunn was not heckled once for his support of changing the state flag to remove the Confederate battle emblem from its design.
If a Democratic speaker was advocating to strip the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi state flag, he or she, no doubt, would have received a much more hostile reception at the fair.
Gunn, the first Republican speaker since the 1800s presiding over the first majority Republican House since the 1800s, is in a unique position to lead in the effort to change the flag.