David Jordan

State Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, speaks for legislation that would change Mississippi's state flag Sunday at the Capitol in Jackson.

Two Greenwood legislators said Monday they are happy with the passage of legislation to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state’s flag.

State Rep. Solomon Osborne and state Sen. David Jordan, both Democrats, voted in favor of the bill.

“I think it’s going to be positive for all of us,” said Jordan, who hopes the new design will be a rallying symbol for all Mississippians.

Jordan said removing the Confederate emblem serves two primary purposes.

First, he said, it will help the state’s African American population relax since many see the Confederate symbol as a reminder of slavery. Unlike other adjacent Southern states, “we’re the only ones left with that symbol from the Civil War,” he said.

Additionally, the senator said, the move will help attract more business and tourism. It will benefit the state’s image if people see that Mississippians are of “one accord,” he said.

A change in the flag was proposed in 2001, but in a statewide referendum, a majority of voters opted to keep the design with the Confederate emblem.

Solomon Osborne

Osborne

Kevin Horan

Horan

Karl Oliver

Oliver

Lydia Chassaniol 2015

Chassaniol

Osborne said that although he is glad the flag will be changed, he has “mixed emotions.”

“I wanted the flag changed, but the other part of that is it will probably give people who don’t live here a false impression that we’ve made significant improvements when we really have not,” he said.

He added, “This is really cosmetic. It makes you feel good, and for people who don’t really know what’s happening in Mississippi, they’ll get a false notion that we’re really making progress.”

Expanding Medicaid, addressing police brutality against Black citizens and improving education are topics Osborne said he wished had been addressed during this year’s legislative session. He intends to address them next year, he added.

Sen. Lydia Chassaniol, R-Winona, and Rep. Kevin Horan, R-Grenada, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Chassaniol voted against the bill; Horan voted in favor of it.

Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, who voted in favor of removing the Confederate battle emblem, declined to comment Monday.

A statement he had provided to Mississippi Today last week, however, indicated his support for a new flag: “I am choosing to attempt to unite our state and ask each of you to join me in supporting a flag that creates unity — now is the time.”

• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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