To the Editor,

In recent weeks, my office has received an overwhelming number of emails and phone calls from constituents who are strongly opposed to the new Minnesota state flag. Though the design itself is a concern to many, the greater disappointment lies with the severe lack of consensus it received from Minnesotans.

  The new state flag came about through a provision in last year’s State Government Finance budget bill, which created a commission to redesign our official state emblems. I voted against this commission, as I believe it to be a waste of taxpayer dollars and lacking in robust public input. Still, the commission was put into law and tasked with redesigning the state seal and emblem by Jan. 1, 2024.

  After a few months of meetings, the commission recently selected the new Minnesota state flag. But unfortunately, due to the limited opportunities for public engagement, many believe it does not properly represent Minnesotans and our state’s history.

  If we are to change the flag, then at the very least, it should be done in a way that ensures broad-based support. However, it was an extremely rushed and failed process for such an important change. The commission was made up of a small group of unelected people, and it did not provide enough opportunities for Minnesotans to be involved. Similarly, I believe there should have also been greater involvement from the Minnesota Legislature, which represents and is ultimately accountable to the people of Minnesota.

  Another issue we are now seeing pop up is the cost for local and state agencies to make the change to the new seal and flag. The Hennepin County Sherriff recently told KSTP that the change will be expensive for their local agency, with “the price tag to replace everything will cost at least $500,000.” Minnesotans are ultimately going to pay for this change with their tax dollars.

  Changing the flag and seal is not a trivial decision that should be taken lightly. It is a shared symbol of the people of Minnesota, and all voices should have the opportunity to be heard. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a process where we could have gotten a greater consensus. We are now left with a flag that many Minnesotans cannot get behind.

  Unless the Legislature takes action to undo the commission’s work, the new flag will start to fly on Minnesota’s Statehood Day – May 11. If Democrats are so excited about the new flag, they should bring it up for a vote in the Minnesota Legislature this coming session.

State Senator Jordan Rasmusson, 

R-Fergus Falls