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Minnesota lawmaker drafts bill to make purple the official state color

Enger Tower in Duluth was washed with purple light in remembrance of the rock star Prince who passed away Thursday at the age of 57 at his Chanhassen home. Hundreds of people visited the tower Thursday evening. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

There are red states and there are blue states.

Minnesota should be a purple state, says Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Mary's Point) -- but for Princely, not political, reasons.

Housley says she has drafted a bill to honor the late Minnesota artist by making purple the official state color; she will introduce it on Monday.

"Twenty-three states have official colors, but we don't," Housley said. "I've always thought it should be purple, so much so that I had my Minnesota Senate ring made (in 2012) with a purple stone."

Minnesota would be the first state to have purple as its official color, Housley said.

Housley, a huge Prince fan, said honoring Prince with an official state color would be a fitting tribute "for a man that was born, raised, lived and died in Minnesota and gave so much to the people of our state as an artist and member of our community."

"Seeing the world all lit up purple makes me very, very proud," she said. "It also made me realize that when I thought I was his No. 1 fan, and that he was 'ours,' he meant so much to everyone around the world. There are not many people that when you see a color, you think of him. I don't think the world will ever be lit up again with a single color in memory of an artist or person. He was special, and he was ours. We should be proud."

She said Gov. Mark Dayton has told her purple is his favorite color. "He said: 'Now you only need 33 other Senators and 68 House members to agree!'"

Housley, whose favorite Prince song is "Raspberry Beret," said she never met Prince, but she and her then-fiance, NHL hockey player Phil Housley, had a "moment" with him after their first Prince concert in the fall of 1982. They were 18 years old.

"Phil had just signed with the Buffalo Sabres," Housley said. "When we left, we pulled to the back of First Avenue (in Minneapolis) and parked in his new silver Iroc Z-28. We waited for three hours in the car for him to leave -- for three hours, we sat in that car. We knew he'd be coming out eventually and Phil was, like, can't we leave? And I said 'Noooooo!' He finally came out. I didn't know he was so shy. He came out and gave us a nod and kept walking by, and I was in heaven for the rest of my life."

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