Special to SEGAZINE
There’s a big race right now to become the 51st state.
Forget traditional contenders like Puerto Rico. In several existing states, residents of less populous areas are hoping to create new states of their own.
Citizens in 11 northeastern Colorado counties are among them. They’ll vote on Nov. 5 whether to break off and form their own state. Many are unhappy about liberal state legislation they believe reflects the values of the Denver-Boulder corridor, but not their part of the world.
“We’re rarely listened to when it comes to legislation,” says Butch White, the mayor of Ault. “I’m sure the vote will pass in Weld County quite easily.”
The Colorado counties aren’t alone. There’s been occasional talk of secession at various times in recent decades, but now the idea is showing signs of taking root across the map.
There is talk about and sometimes movement toward secession in several states. These are locally motivated startups, but they share some themes in common.
People in mostly conservative areas feel isolated living in states controlled by Democrats. Rural residents, in particular, believe their values are given no respect in capitols now completely dominated by urban and suburban interests.
Secession may be part of the same impulse that leads states to sue or otherwise try to block or nullify federal laws they don’t like. People are losing respect for institutions that don’t reflect their preferences and would prefer, to the extent possible, to extricate themselves from them.
“What we would like to do is gain representation for the northern people of the state,” says Mark Baird, spokesman for a committee seeking to split off part of California. “The only way to do that is to have our own state.”