Tamra Farley Ansel carries flags made in America as she climbs through a trap door to the roof of the Statehouse to hoist them on poles. That makes sense. Where else would they be made? Try China.
Tamra Farley Ansel carries flags made in America as she climbs through a trap door to the roof of the Statehouse to hoist them on poles.
That makes sense. Where else would they be made?
Ohio State Sen. Joy Padgett, R-Coshocton, wants to make sure foreign-made flags aren’t flown in Ohio, or at least are not sold in the state. Her Senate Bill 316, which has bipartisan support, would prohibit the sale of U.S. and Ohio flags not manufactured in this country.
New Jersey-based Annin & Co., the world’s oldest and largest manufacturer of U.S. flags, has a plant in Coshocton.
“Flags made anywhere but the United States bother me,” said Padgett, who introduced the legislation April 4.
While the bill has had at least one hearing before the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Gary Cates, R-West Chester and the committee’s chairman, said its status is “at half-staff.”
Cates said Padgett asked that action not be taken until she’s had a chance to gauge support for it this summer.
Ansel, a 1980 graduate of Tuslaw High School in Stark County, raises U.S. and Ohio flags over the Statehouse that are made at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Flags flown next to the statue of President William McKinley are American made, according to the Web sites of the two Columbus stores that sell the flags to the state.
Not everyone agrees with Padgett’s effort. Sen. William J. Seitz, R-Cincinnati, said the legislation could violate the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as international trade treaties.
“I’m all for the flag,” said the conservative lawmaker and attorney, “but it’s not best to build a protectionist wall.”
State Reps. Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton, and Mark Okey, D-Carrollton, said Seitz might have a point. Oelslager and Okey also are attorneys.
“I’m very nervous about legislating people’s choices,” said state Rep. Allan R. Sayer, D-Dover.
“I’m not in favor of limiting what people want to buy,” said state Rep. John Hagan, R-Marlboro Township.
Seitz said the legislation could cause an increase in the price of flags because it would limit competition. He trusts consumers to “look at the label” and decide whether to buy a flag made in the United States, Canada, China or Great Britain.
Vern Hall, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3747 on Avalon Avenue NE in Canton, said he’s sure the flags he and other members place on veterans’ graves each year around Memorial Day are made in the United States. He orders them from Indiana-based CVS Wholesale Flags, whose Web site says its flags are made in this country.
Dan Blake, commander of VFW Post 7490 in Louisville, buys his flags from Akron-based Falls Flag and Banner Co. The company’s Web site says its flags also are made in the United States.
The nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, sells American flags in a variety of sizes made by Annin & Co., though other components, such as poles and holders, come from China.
At a Meijer discount store, a Wal-Mart competitor, American-made flags come from Health Outdoor Products in Michigan.
But China manufacturing dominates other flag products. For example, flags wrapped around toothpicks come from China and would be banned under Padgett’s bill as it is now written. So would a plastic banner of 11 U.S. flags and perhaps a braided bead necklace with an American flag attached.
Meijer sells a “patriotic magnet” with the U.S. flag above the words “Proud to be American.” It sells for $2.47 and is made in China.
Padgett admits it’s difficult not to buy products made overseas, but “we’ve got to get manufacturing back, and what better product than the flag?
“I do worry that you can’t buy a flag made in the United States,” she said. “I can’t find American-made shoes. You go into a supermarket and the flowers are from South America. I really try to find American-made products.”
Padgett’s bill may have to be clarified as to how strict it will be. For example, should the restriction be limited to cloth products, but not ban plastic and printed flags? And if the flag is made in the U.S. but with foreign-produced cloth, would that meet the legislation’s requirements?
“Hopefully, companies use American fabric,” she said.
And what of the American flag Jell-O silicone mold? Wal-Mart sells it for $12.88, and it’s made in China.
Reach Repository Columbus Bureau Chief Paul E. Kostyu at (614) 222-8901 or e-mail: email@example.com