We all know the classic Maine chickadee license plate which has been around since 1999. But now, after 24 years, state officials are proposing a new state plate.
The proposed plate design will incorporate the elements of Maine’s 1901 historic flag with a navy blue star and dark green pine tree on the left side.
The main reason behind the change is because the chickadee plate has been around for so long, many license plates are becoming unreadable.
According to News Center Maine, Maine’s State Secretary office has cited plate identification issues during incidents requiring law enforcement, reduced toll collection and decreased nighttime and weather visibility.
“License plates serve not only to identify vehicles, but are a way of expressing our love for our state,” Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said.
I completely agree. Although the chickadee plate represented our state in a wonderful way and it will always hold a special place in my heart, I recognize that it is time for a change. Maine’s 1901 flag was the first official flag to represent our state and is therefore a perfect symbol to use as our state license plate.
Over recent years, there have also been many calls to replace our current state flag with the original flag because of its simplicity and how easy it is to distinguish it from other state flags. It is not uncommon to see the flag flying high from homes and businesses all over Maine. Now it could be on our license plates.
The original flag also represents two of Maine’s most historic and well-known symbols. The pine tree, our state tree, and the North Star, representing our state motto, “Dirigo” which is Latin for “I direct.”
However, not surprisingly, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Maine’s new plate proposal.
“If we are going to be required by law to attach something to our vehicles, it should at least look good. The chickadee does. The 1901 plate simply feels more sterile,” an opinion contributor at the Bangor Daily News said.
I agree that the 1901 plate is clean and professional looking, but I am not sure what is wrong with that. However, the contributor goes on to say that he believes that instead of replacing the license plate, Maine should put the 1901 back as our official state flag.
I agree, but why not both? Having the 1901 flag as both our state flag and license plate would create this beautiful cohesiveness and representation of Maine pride.
In the coming weeks, the Maine Transportation Committee will consider the license plate change. Either way, there will be angry Mainers. But then again, there are many people in this state that have a hard time with change. I, however, think this change could be seen as a step forward in the progression of our state.
If implemented, the license plates will be rolled out during vehicle registration between March 2025 and the end of February 2026.