In late December, Bryant sat down with The Associated Press for an interview about his priorities for the 2015 legislative session. He was asked if he sees a need to change the state flag.

The governor’s answer was a quick an unequivocal no. He said the banner does not hurt Mississippi’s image.

“I’ve been all around the world – literally, all around the world. And not once have I had a world leader – consul general, prime minister – say, ‘We’re offended,’ or, ‘We don’t like your state flag,’” Bryant said.

Asked about Mississippi residents who don’t like the flag, Bryant replied with a chuckle: “There are people in the state who are taxpayers that don’t like a lot of things.”

Mississippi has the only state flag that includes the Confederate symbol. The design has been used since 1894, and was affirmed by a nearly 2-to-1 margin of voters in a 2001 statewide election.

Since then, some black lawmakers have proposed redesigning the flag, but efforts fizzled because legislative leaders – Republican and Democrat – said voters had settled the issue.

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