AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ agriculture commissioner says he will back a Confederate group’s latest attempt to sell specialty license plates, because “there’s no profit in hiding our history.”
The Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Texas chapter proposed a license plate in March that features a rebel soldier carrying a Texas regiment’s special flag at a Civil War battle, the Dallas Morning News reported. The specialty tag won’t include the Confederate battle flag.
Commissioner Sid Miller wrote a letter of support in March that said the Department of Agriculture would sponsor the plate. On Monday, he said he sees nothing wrong with the group’s push for the specialty tag.
“The Confederate flag is one of the six flags that flew over the state,” he said. “There’s no profit in hiding our history and trying to rewrite history.”
Democratic opponent Kim Olson, who will face Miller in the Nov. 6 election, questioned the move.
“Kids are hungry, farmers are struggling, rural communities are suffering, and this is his focus?” said Olson’s campaign manager Kolby Monnig. “Kim Olson is working to reach all voters, because the Texas Department of Agriculture must represent all Texans.”
The Texas chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans sought the state’s approval more than a decade ago for a different specialty license plate design that included the group’s name and a square Confederate battle flag.
The board that oversees the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles rejected the plan, and the issue turned into a legal battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court upheld Texas’ authority to reject the plate.
David McMahon and Gary Bray, the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ current and past Texas division commanders, declined to comment.
Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Adam Shaivitz said the new plate design may be considered in December.