8 Colo. counties consider seceding from state because of liberal state government policies

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, June 7, 2013

Several conservative-leaning counties in Northern Colorado are considering seceding from the Centennial state because of the liberal policies being passed by the state’s government.

The proposed state, which would be called North Colorado, would consist of Weld, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson Counties, all of which are in the rural, energy-rich northeastern part of the state.

“This is not the same state that I grew up in,” Weld County Commissioner Douglas Rademacher told Red Alert Politics. “In the last 10-15 years, the pendulum has swung so far to the left as far as anti-energy, anti-ag” policies go in the Democrat-controlled state capital of Denver.

“We were pushed into a corner, and frankly when you keep pushing into a corner you’re gonna come back out, and you’re gonna come back out with fire and that’s exactly what we did” he added, noting that ten other counties have contacted them about joining the movement.

According to Rademacher, the idea for secession actually came from residents at one of the county’s regular board meetings who are fed up with the strict gun laws and restrictions on national gas drilling the government has passed over the past few years. Just this past Wednesday Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed into law a bill that forces electrical cooperatives in rural areas to double the amount of renewable energy they produce by the year 2020. The state also created several new gun control laws that have adversely affected residents of these eight rural counties earlier this year.

“The constituents were frustrated over some of the legislation proposed out of Denver in which they were just basically jamming it through the legislature without any kind of feedback or really any willingness to compromise,” he told RAP. “The citizens were just upset and they just basically asked the question ‘What can we do?’ ‘Is there anything we can do as a county to stop this madness?’.”

He added that any movement toward succession would be “resident-driven,” and if the popular support for the secession is there, the commissioners in the eight counties hope to have the area’s approximately 400,000 residents vote on the issue in November.

Forming a new state within an old one is not an easy task. According to the U.S. Constitution, the process requires the approval of the existing state’s legislature and Congress. Rademacher believes the most difficult task will be winning over the state legislature, as Weld County and its neighbors provide so much profit to the state.

“We pay the bills,” he quipped.

He added that there is also the chance that North Colorado – should it succeed in its quest to break away from Colorado – could either annex other counties in neighboring Kansas and Nebraska that have expressed interest in the movement, or even completely take in a neighboring state like Wyoming.

Although it’s successfully happened five times in history, the last time a state officially broke away from another one was West Virginia in 1863. Since then there have been several failed movements to create new states within the continental 48, including the state of Delmarva, which would encompass all of Delaware and the counties along the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia, and the “State of Superior” which would consist of the upper peninsula of Michigan.

In January, more than 125,000 Americans signed a White House petition asking the federal government to allow the state of Texas to secede (again) from the union.

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