On a Twin Cities radio show earlier this week, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz dismissed Republican efforts to keep Minnesota’s current state flag.
“Minnesota is a diverse state, it continues to grow. This flag was crafted in the 1890s,” said Gov. Walz regarding Minnesota’s current flag. “It’s highly offensive to a large number of people, and there’s very little debate about that.”
Last month, a state commission unveiled a redesign of Minnesota’s state flag and state seal. Those new designs will officially be adopted by the State of Minnesota on May 11, 2024 unless the Minnesota Legislature moves to block the commission’s redesigns through new legislation, or a successful legal challenge is mounted against the changes.
While Gov. Walz, a left-wing Democrat, has championed the redesign of both state emblems, others have criticized the process. Specific criticisms regarding the new state seal include the deletion of Minnesota’s statehood year, the elimination of Minnesota’s state motto, and the inclusion of a Dakota phrase.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Republican Party released a statement which denounced the redesigned flag.
“Minnesota’s state flag holds great historical importance and has united us by recognizing the people and events who helped create Minnesota,” said Minnesota Republican Party Chairman David Hann. “The flag the DFL has eliminated was a version of the historic flag our regiments fought under during the Civil War. Minnesota was the first state to offer troops to the Union cause in 1861, beginning a long tradition of leading the nation in confronting injustice. The DFL quest to erase our history is repugnant and should be rejected.”
The Minnesota Republican Party urged Gov. Walz and the Minnesota Legislature to intervene and preserve the current state flag. Additionally, the party set up a website on the subject.
When asked about this topic, Gov. Walz compared these Republican efforts to “somehow saving the Confederate battle flag.” The governor added, “These are the arguments that happened with Jefferson Davis statues in Alabama.”
In Crow Wing County, elected county commissioners voted to outright oppose the new flag and seal design. One commissioner referred to the flag changes as whitewashing history, according to KFGO. Furthermore, Hennepin County officials have raised concerns about the financial costs associated with replacing every flag and seal with the new designs.
Articulating his thoughts on Minnesota, Gov. Walz said, “We’re the North Star State, where everybody belongs and everybody has a place.”