GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Expressing his views in a Facebook post over the weekend, the mayor of Gulfport is advocating for a state flag change.
Caray Grace sat down with Mayor Billy Hewes, who says it's time to move forward.
"Like it or not a lot, a lot of folks can't get past the image that's on our current flag to come here. We've got a great story to tell. We're better together," said Hewes.
Without a symbol of unity, Hewes feels residents will remain divided and the state will continue to lose prospective residents and business due to the stigma associated with the flag.
Hewes is continuing to fly the state flag at City Hall, as not to disrespect the voice of Mississippians. However, the Magnolia Flag - Mississippi's first official flag - will also fly.
Whether it's settled by another public referendum, or by state legislators. Mayor Hewes says the change is inevitable.
"It has become an impediment with folks who are not wanting to do business or just pause when they come to Mississippi versus somebody else. It's a competitive advantage. It's an improper, and unfair unwarranted stereotype we deal with, but we fight it every day, particularly in the business community," said Hewes.