In their January 2 regular meeting, the Crow Wing County Board voted on a resolution in opposition of the newly-announced Minnesota state flag and seal, which were announced at the end of 2023.

A discussion was led by Commissioner Paul Koering during a December meeting of the board about the issue and idea of passing a resolution. Koering called the new flag and seal a "'whitewashing' of Minnesota's history". 

What's in the resolution?

The resolution, seen on page 36 of the board's January 2 agenda packet, followed language shared by Koering and others during their December meeting about the original seal containing valuable historical information about the state's "farming
background, Native American heritage, and the co-existence that is part of the rich history of our state".

The resolution also pointed to the public cost associated with changing the state's flag and seal, which includes deputy badges, courtroom seals, places flags are displayed, etc. The resolution also argues that the effort and associated costs "do not advance the public interest" and have largely been met with "overwhelmingly negative" public reaction.

Public comments during the meeting

In the opening portion of the meeting, during the board's general comment period, several county residents spoke in support of the board's resolution, echoing the sentiments of the resolution.

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One person reiterated the associated costs to taxpayers in changing all of the seals and flags around the county and throughout the state. Another supporter revisited the desire to preserve the history they argue the original flag and seal displays. It was suggested during the comment period the new flag has no historical context or value and the new flag and seal do not represent the state.

Another person read a letter from Minnesota State Senator Nathan Wesenberg during the same general comment period, which denounced the selection process for the new flag, which was conducted by an appointed panel, rather than by a public vote. The Senator praised the Crow Wing County Board for their stance against the new flag as a part of his comments.

While most people in attendance spoke in favor of the resolution, Board Chair Jon Lubke read some letters and comments via phone received by the board that opposed the resolution. Those comments included a mayor in the county asking why county time and money was being spent on something that isn't a county issue. Other comments included someone calling it pointless, saying the resolution won't change anything, and others asking if the county board had better things to do and sharing concerns this issue is taking away from more important county issues.

Voting on the resolution

After the comment period, the board held a roll call vote, passing the resolution. While it passed, it did not pass universally. Commissioners Paul Koering, Rosemary Franzen, and Doug Houge voted in favor of the resolution, Commissioner Steve Barrows voted no, and Commissioner Jon Lubke, who is also the board chair, voted "present".

A board chair, Lubke voted last, asking if his vote was needed. He asked if it was necessary being the measure had already been approved with a majority vote. After being told he needed to provide a vote, he voted "present".

The part of the meeting focused on the flag vote starts at about the 20-minute mark in their video of the meeting, seen below. Some of the additional comments mentioned above came during the public comment period, which is at the beginning of the meeting.

The new flag and seal will be implemented on May 11, which is Minnesota's statehood day.

10 Hilarious Submissions for New Minnesota State Flag

The state of Minnesota is in the process of updating the state flag and state emblem, the public was allowed to submit design ideas, and some of them are hilarious.

Gallery Credit: Tony Hart

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