(CBS NEWS) — A Republican candidate for attorney general of Mississippi believes young people are leaving the state because of the flag, which features a Confederate emblem. Andy Taggart suggested the state design a new one that does not include the Confederate battle flag.
Speaking to local newspaper The Clarion Ledger, Taggart said Mississippi is stuck looking to the past and that a new flag would show the state is focused on the future.
“Unlike monuments, unlike street names, unlike building names, our state flag is supposed to be the banner under which all of us march and is a symbol of unity for all of us in the state of Mississippi,” Taggart said. “And no matter how strongly people feel… every objective observer would have to agree: Our current state flag is not a banner that unifies Mississippians.”
Taggart said he thinks changing the flag is important if Mississippi wants to recruit young residents and get them to stay.
Before Taggart, no other Republican candidate for statewide office has spoken out about the flag as a major issue for this year’s campaign, the Clarion Ledger reports.
Any decision to change the flag would be up to the legislature, not whoever’s elected attorney general. But Taggart said it’s important to have someone in a statewide office championing a new flag. He believes that would give lawmakers “conservative cover” to support the change.
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