Commission on redesigning Minnesota’s flag holds first meeting

Changing the state flag

Changing the state flag

Minnesota’s State Emblems Redesign Commission (SERC) held its first meeting Tuesday morning to plan and discuss new designs for the official state seal and official state flag.

The commission states that its purpose is to create designs that “accurately and respectfully reflect Minnesota’s shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities. Symbols, emblems, or likenesses that represent only a single community or person, regardless of whether real or stylized, may not be included in a design.”

SERC adds that it will solicit public feedback and suggestions to inform its work.

The goal is to adopt designs and report to the legislature and governor no later than Jan. 1, 2024.

For Lee Herold, of Herold Flags in Rochester, he says simplicity is key.

“It’s a visible symbol of an invisible feeling and bond [that] you have with others,” Herold said about the impact a flag can have on someone.

For decades now, Herold has been pushing the state to redesign their flag. In the late 80’s he helped design a flag of his own that they call the North Star Flag.

North Star Flag, Herold Flags

“It’s kind of a, in a way, a simplification of the current flag,” Herold said of his flag design.

With a yellow star symbolizing the North Star, colors representing snowy winters, green forests and farmlands, Herold feels it’s a fitting flag for the state he plans to send the commission as an option to pick from.

Voting commission members include the following:

  • Dr. Kate Beane, Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board (CAAPB)
  • Shelley Buck, Governor – General Member of the Public
  • Luis Fitch, Council on Latino Affairs
  • Anita Gaul, Governor – General Member of the Public
  • Michael Harralson, Governor – General Member of the Public
  • Kim Jackson, Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans
  • Denise Mazone, Council on Minnesotans of African Heritage
  • Lauren Bennett McGinty, Explore Minnesota Tourism
  • Philip McKenzie, Minnesota State Arts Board
  • Steve Simon, Minnesota Secretary of State
  • Kent Whitworth, Minnesota Historical Society
  • Aaron Wittnebel, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) – Ojibwe Community
  • OPEN, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) – Dakota Community

Non-voting members from the Minnesota legislature include the following:

  • Senator Steve Drazkowski, Minnesota Senate – Member of the Minority
  • Rep. Mike Freiberg, Minnesota House of Representatives – Member of the Majority
  • Senator Mary Kunesh, Minnesota Senate – Member of the Majority
  • Rep. Bjorn Olson, Minnesota House of Representatives – Member of the Minority

Minnesota Historical Society members Lindsey Dyer and David Kelliher will also provide “administrative support,” according to the commission.

“I’m looking forward to is creating a flag that we can all be proud of and the flag that everybody can look at and say, ‘Yeah! That’s Minnesota’s flag,’” commission member Gaul said during the first meeting.

Dr. Beane, another member, said she’s eager to further and deepen these conversations.

“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to engage and to talk about some really important imagery and legacy here in Minnesota,” Dr. Beane said.

The first meeting primarily dealt with logistics, such as how often the commission should meet. Initially, the commission is considering the possibility of meeting weekly. Additionally, the members voted Fitch to chair the commission and Gaul as vice chair.

Details on the legislation establishing the commission can be found here.