INTERVIEW: Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper explains POW/MIA flag controversy

Mayor Rebecca Casper talks with Neal Larson, from KID NewsRadio, about a recent controversy involving the POW*MIA flag | Sydney Jensen, KID NewsRadio

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper

 

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper addressed a recent controversy surrounding the POW/MIA flag in Idaho Falls during an interview on KID NewsRadio on Friday, July 13.

Local news outlets reported a recommendation by Idaho Falls City Attorney Randy Fife to take the flag down while the city developed an official flag policy. While the flag never came down, Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper told KID NewsRadio the recommendation came as a proactive measure to protect the city.

“Our attorney, and this is my understanding, was saying ‘Look, if you keep that up there without a policy explaining why you have it up there, then somebody could challenge it and you’re vulnerable to a court challenge. So, rather than be vulnerable, why don’t you take it down until you have a policy,'” Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper told KID NewsRadio. “ His first inclination was not, take the flag down, his first inclination was, we need a policy on this and then when he thought it through, he said and until we have one, we’re vulnerable and then to make ourselves less vulnerable, maybe you better take that down so that while council’s hashing out policy, nobody could complain or have have grounds for a complaint.”

The recommendation drew criticism from some, including Ann Mills-Griffiths, Chairman of the Board of Directors for The National League for POW/MIA families, who personally called Mayor Casper to express concern about the recommendation, according to local POW/MIA board member, Hiedi Young.

Ann Mills-Griffiths, who is the the chairman of the board for the POW*MIA National League families in Washington, she was actually the one that brought it to our attention and she said “Hey, are you guys aware this is happening?” She actually reached out to Mayor Casper personally and Mayor Casper responded back to her almost immediately,” Young told KID NewsRadio.

Casper reiterated the flag never came down and won’t come down while the city council works on an official policy.

“I don’t know what the policy is going to be,” Mayor Casper said. “It’s important to enact policy that is fair to all citizens, and that is…legally justified. If they enact a policy that’s vulnerable to a lawsuit and then the city is sued, who knows what the court would rule. So, I’m hoping that we can continue with that symbol because it’s a powerful symbol until we bring home every last person or their remains is what I’m talking, until it happens. There are, there’s closure that isn’t happening for American families, and that’s powerful, that’s important.”

 

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