Like many states before them, Colorado is seeking to become two separate entities. Representatives from the Midwest state gathered Monday to discuss their desire to split the northern, rural region into what would become America’s 51st state, North Colorado.
According to a report from CBS Denver via Yahoo News, representatives from eight northern counties cited a “growing urban-rural divide” as their main reason for the split at the meeting, claiming economic-related decision by lawmakers as the cause of the rift. “Northern and northeastern Colorado and our voices are being ignored in the legislative process this year,” said Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway, one of many who claimed to be affected by gun control legislation and the state's efforts to encourage less oil use and gas production. “Our very way of life is under attack,” he said.
Representatives from Weld, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson counties were among those present at the discussion. Lincoln and Cheyenne county, as well as two unidentified counties from the neighboring state of Nebraska, have also reportedly expressed interest in joining the potential new state. “We need to figure out a way to reenfranchise the people who feel politically disenfranchised and ignored,” Conway said in response to claims that the meeting was a publicity stunt.
Supports of the succession are reportedly attempting to secure a ballot referendum for voters to accept or reject their efforts to create North Colorado this November. Not only is the voters' approval necessary in order for the northern region to successfully secede -- the U.S. Congress and the Colorado General Assembly would have to approve.
If successful, Colorado will join the short list of four U.S. states that have successfully seperated from already existing locations. (Maine separated from Massachusetts, Kentucky from Virginia, Vermont from N.Y. and N.H., and West Virginia from Virginia in 1863). Texas was the last U.S. state to request succession in 2012; the White House receieved 72,000 petition signatures from residents in favor of the change on their website. While the attempt to create North Colorado is only in the beginning stages, counties seeking to secede has already received support from one U.S. representative. "The people of rural Colorado are mad, and they have every right to be,” said U.S. Rep. for Colorado's fourth congressional district Cory Gardner. "I don’t blame people one bit for feeling attacked and unrepresented by the leaders in our state.”