During the 2012 election, being in Wyoming, I saw a great deal of media focused on Colorado as it was one of the famous “swing states.” The state ended up going to Obama and at the time besides a rather glum outlook on our neighbor to the south, I didn’t think much of it. I suppose I was busy fretting about another four years under Obama and the damage it could do to the country and my state.
As the year progressed we continued to hear more about Colorado passing liberal anti-ag laws, legalizing marijuana, raising taxes, talk of gun control – the state seemed to be turning into a progressive disaster. And then there was a voice, the voice of strong, liberty-minded Coloradoans in the more rural counties, speaking out against the leftist agenda with a most remarkable solution, forming their own state. Thus began the 51st State Initiative.
Being that we are neighbors and Wyoming has a somewhat vested interest in what happens with the 51st State Initiative, I interviewed their spokesperson, Jeffrey Hare.
SJ: When did this initiative begin? Why?
JH: The genesis really started after years of neglect and outright hostility towards rural Colorado. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the 2013 Colorado Legislative Session. Probably the one bill that exemplifies this assault was SB252 – the alternative energy mandate for rural Colorado. It was the height of hypocrisy as an urban legislator from Fort Collins introduced a bill requiring rural electric providers to increase their higher cost sources, primarily wind and solar power, to 20 percent by 2020 much against the urging of tens of thousands of citizens throughout rural Colorado.
SJ: Who is responsible for starting it?
JH: Concerns over the assault on rural Colorado led to commissioners from 10 northeast counties to host two open meetings to discuss the idea. Some counties hosted open meetings within their counties to seek feedback from their citizens to see if there were additional options folks could identify. One of the counties participating in the discussions came up with the idea of the restructuring of the State Senate to increase the number of Senators from 35 to 64 so that each county would have one Senator. This would allow for a balance between the rural and urban interests.
SJ: What have been the largest barriers to making it happen?
JH: The biggest challenge is educating folks throughout the counties that are going to be included in the new state. We believe once people understand the vision for the new state and the emphasis we will place on personal liberties, there will be overwhelming support in these counties and throughout the rest of the state.
We know Article 4 Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution requires both state legislative approval as well as U.S. Congressional approval. At the state level, there is clear evidence that voters overwhelmingly support and respect the right to self-determination and self-governance. There are many examples throughout state history where voters have approved the creation of a new political subdivision.
SJ: Who are your biggest allies? Adversaries?
JH: Our biggest allies are all friends of liberty. Folks across the political spectrum appreciate that government’s primary role is to protect individual’s life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We expect progressives across the state to vote for it because it will help them concentrate power in the counties that remain in the state.
We see few adversaries – other than constitutionally-minded folks who may be left behind in Denver and Boulder counties.
SJ: What is the message you want to get out about the 51st state initiative?
JH: Our framers envisioned the day when irreconcilable differences would exist between different interests within a state. They provided Article 4 Section 3 for such a time as this… we are merely asserting our inalienable right to self-determination and self-governance with our intention to separate from the Denver/Boulder “Progressives”. We’ve simply had enough.
Scott G., Ft. Collins, CO resident: “What we are doing is not revolutionary, it is restorationary.”
To learn more about this initiative and how you can support these fellow patriots, visit them on their site at:
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