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Prince up for top congressional medal, Minnesota officials lead the push

Minnesota's congressional delegation submitted the resolution to honor the singer posthumously with the Congressional Gold Medal, touting his 'legacy of musical achievement and… indelible mark on Minnesota and American culture.'

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Musician Prince performs at the Hop Farm Festival near Paddock Wood, southern England July 3, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/File Photo
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota's congressional delegation on Monday, Oct. 25, announced that it is leading a push to award a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal award to Minnesota-born musician Prince Rogers Nelson, more commonly known as Prince.

The state's 10 members of Congress in a statement said they'd introduced a resolution to honor Prince, commending the singer's “legacy of musical achievement and… indelible mark on Minnesota and American culture.”

The medal is the highest honor that can be handed down to a civilian from the U.S. Congress. There have been 163 of the accolades awarded since the first went to George Washington in 1776. To advance, two-thirds of the members in each the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate would have to co-sponsor the proposal.

“The world is a whole lot cooler because Prince was in it -- he touched our hearts, opened our minds, and made us want to dance," U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a news release. "With this legislation, we honor his memory and contributions as a composer, performer, and music innovator. Purple reigns in Minnesota today and every day because of him.”

Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, introduced the legislation, with Tina Smith, Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber signed on as original co-sponsors.

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“I remember when I first came to America being captivated by Prince’s music and impact on the culture. He showed that it was okay to be a short, Black kid from Minneapolis and still change the world," Omar said. "He not only changed the arc of music history; he put Minneapolis on the map."

Prince was an award-winning singer, songwriter, actor and producer who was born and raised in Minneapolis. He died in 2016 of an accidental opioid overdose.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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