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County Commissioners in eight northern Colorado counties have united together in opposition to the state’s new gun control laws and oil/gas regulations. They are reportedly considering forming a 51st U.S. state called North Colorado.
According to a report in The Greeley Tribune, Weld County Commissioners Sean Conway, Mike Freeman and Doug Rademacher plan to conduct public meetings as they decide whether to draft a ballot measure by August 1. The measure would go on the ballot in November.
However creating a new state will not be an easy task as the U.S. Constitution requires that State Legislatures must first approve any state that is to be created within its jurisdiction. The U.S. Congress would also have to give its approval. Colorado would more than likely not want to give up the revenue it currently receives from those counties involved and the US will not want to add another state with whom it would have to share federal monies and resources.
On Thursday, the commissioners said that failed legislative efforts to crack down on oil and gas, as well as increases in rural renewable energy standards were “the straws that broke the camel’s back.” Weld County supports the state economy primarily through the agriculture and energy industries. Commissioner Conway said the county’s return on the financial support it provides to Colorado is minimal.
Would such a move receive the support of the Colorado Legislature? Rep. Cory Gardner whose district would become part of the new state said in a statement to The Tribune last week that he is sympathetic to the commissioners’ concerns and doesn’t blame them for wanting to form a new state. Gardener said,
“The people of rural Colorado are mad, and they have every right to be. The governor and his Democrat colleagues in the statehouse have assaulted our way of life, and I don’t blame these people one bit for feeling attacked and unrepresented by the leaders of our state.”
The plan to carve off the northeastern corner of the state which includes the counties of Weld, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson counties would form the state of North Colorado. The idea was put together at a Colorado Counties Inc. conference earlier this week according to Weld County spokeswoman Jennifer Finch.
Greeley Mayor and former State Sen. Tom Norton said,
“There are a lot of people mad out there. You walk out onto the streets of Greeley and every third person says ‘What in the world are they (state lawmakers) thinking?’ ”
Gov. John Hickenlooper’s spokesman Eric Brown said
“background checks on gun sales, increasing renewable energy and supporting responsible development of oil and gas are popular with rural and urban voters. Not everyone agrees, of course, but we keep trying.”
The politically elite in Colorado have created quite a furor among conservatives over the past two years in particular. They are attempting to urbanize the rural areas of the state and that is not going over well with many of the citizens. As Weld County Commissioner Mike Freeman said, ”
That is a direct assault on rural Colorado.”
Weld County Commissioner Doug Rademacher said of creating a 51st state,
“Some would call it extreme, maybe aggressive, and I would say absolutely. I think extreme times call for extreme actions.”
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