New Minnesota state seal and flag face criticism, receive support

Minnesota elected officials gave the state a history-making gift to mark its 166th birthday on Saturday. 

But not everyone appreciates the gesture, as recent polls suggest about half of the Minnesota population favors the old flag, which some Republican lawmakers fought to keep. 

Secretary of State Steve Simon felt it was time to go, and spoke during a ceremony where the new state seal was unveiled.   

"I think we could do better," Secretary Simon said. "It’s nothing against that old seal in terms of its part of our old history. But, let’s pivot now in 2024 and do something that’s more inclusive."

The crowd at the Minnesota State Capitol Building in St. Paul on Saturday agreed. They gathered to formally adopt the new flag and seal, chosen by the State Emblems Redesign Commission, which reviewed thousands of proposals, and tens of thousands of public comments. The choices were finalized in December. 

Also in attendance was the flag’s designer, Andrew Prekker. 

"It’s such an honor and a privilege, and I’m so happy that we’ve changed the flag to something that’s more inclusive of all people, specifically our indigenous communities," Prekker said. "I feel like mine is a flag that hopefully will grow on a lot of people, even if they aren’t huge fans." 

Just before sunrise on Statehood Day, the old state flag was removed and taken to be preserved by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Minnesota now joins Georgia, Utah and Mississippi as states that have recently redesigned their emblems. 

Secretary of State Simon added that Maine, Illinois and Massachusetts are now considering redesigns of their own.