State Representative Discuss Flag Controversy

The South Carolina House of Representatives met to start debating a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from its capitol’s grounds.
News 25’s Laurene Callander talked to our state representatives about the Confederate emblem on our state flag.
Controversy continues over whether Mississippi should keep or remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag. Not only do residents of the Coast have clashing opinions on the subject, but state representatives do too.
Sonya Williams Barnes, state representative District 119, believes that the Confederate bars on the flag are offensive and puts Mississippi in a negative light. She said, “Most of my life, when I’ve traveled and lived in other areas, any time I say I’m from Mississippi, people begin to frown and that was something I’ve always felt like I want people to know, that Mississippi is a great place to live. It’s a great place to raise a family, it’s a great place for business and many of our students they graduate from here and they leave and they go to other places. They’re feeling the same thing, so it’s just time for Mississippi to make a stance.”
Barnes is now drafting legislation to remove the Confederate bars, in hopes of fostering a more progressive outlook for the state. “I feel that leaders need to take a stance, it’s time to be leaders and in order to lead, you have to listen to your constituency and you vote accordingly. And that’s what we need to do,” said Barnes.
State Representative Richard Bennett said, “I don’t believe it’s an issue for the legislature. That is something the people will decide for themselves. We had a vote in 2001. As far as putting it on the ballot again, I’m not in favor of putting it on the ballot.”
Carolyn Crawford, state representative for District 121, said, “I do feel that it is something that should come from the people, it is the flag of the people. I would not support legislation to come through Jackson.”
The next legislative session is scheduled for January 2016, where representatives can voice their thoughts on the issue.
U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson, of Mississippi, has filed a resolution to remove all images of the Confederate Battle Flag from the U.S. House of Chamber and House Office buildings in Washington, which includes the Mississippi state flag.

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