Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has finally spoken out about the movement by several counties in the state to secede, saying that he is vehemently opposed to it because of the impact it will have on the states’ “diverse communities and people.”
“If this talk of a 51st state is about politics designed to divide us, it is destructive,” he added. “But if it is about sending a message, then I see our responsibility to lean in and do a better job of listening.”
Eight counties in the northern part of the state plan to vote in November on whether they should secede from Colorado and form a 51st state – North Colorado – despite the fact that the movement seemed to be halted in July when representatives from 10 counties backed a proposal that, if successful, would keep the state intact but greatly increase the power that rural areas have in the State Legislature.
According to Weld County Commissioner Douglas Rademacher, the counties decided to secede from the state because of the liberal policies passed in the state capital of Denver in recent years, including strict gun control measures and anti-energy policies.
“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” Rademacher told Red Alert Politics in June.
Like Rademacher, Jeffrey Hare, a spokesman for the 51st State Initiative, told The Washington Times that the movement was strictly about Denver’s choice to pass laws that are counterintuitive to rural Coloradans.
“We agree that Colorado has a diverse political culture. The Governor has failed to recognize that diversity and has instead chosen to pander to the urban culture with which he is most familiar,” Hare told the Times via email Sunday.
Even if the ballot measures pass, however, the United States Constitution requires that the counties have the approval of the state legislature and Congress.
Five states have successfully seceded from another state in history, the last being West Virginia in 1863. There have been many failed movements over the past 150 years 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.