Californians might get two different types of secession ballot measures to vote upon in June. During the most recent Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors meeting local officials approved a resolution to allow citizens to decide whether or not they want to pursue a Republic of Jefferson Territory. The “competing” California secession endeavor known as the State of Jefferson movement, is expected to be placed upon the same summer ballot.
If the state of Jefferson becomes a reality, Northern California and portions of Southern Oregon will be combined. Although support for seceding from California has garnered more support in recent years, the idea of combing the parts of the two states originated during the 19th century, according to Fox News. The secession movement lost steam in 1941 not long after it started, due attention being turned to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Rural Oregonians also feel under represented and disconnected from the urban regions of the state, and without a voice in the governing of the state.
Rural Californians reportedly believe they have no representation in the state capitol and have little in common with the southern and central portions of the state. Redding City Council Vice Mayor Patrick Jones believes that when a state is so diverse, it should be split. The local elected official also said, “At this point, I don’t care how the state is split, as long as they cut me off from Sacramento and beyond.”
The state of Jefferson economy could ultimately become 15 percent larger than the state of New Mexico economy, according to movement organizers. Siskiyou and Modoc Counties are reportedly primarily rural municipalities. Modoc has a population of approximately 9,300 citizens. Siskiyou County’s population is about 44,000 residents. The more populated area of California’s northern region have not yet voted to investigate the possibility of secession or joining the state of Jefferson – although some are reportedly considering the idea.
Secession was the talk of Modoc County, California after the Board of Supervisors voted to join adjacent Siskiyou County in its bid to separate from the state. Modoc County Board of Supervisors Chair Geri Byrne noted that the vote supported the formation of a state of Jefferson. The vote to secede from California was unanimous – one supervisor was absent from the meeting.
The California country supervisor chair stated that she placed the measure up for approval because a “number of people” in the district supported secession and the creation of a state of Jefferson. Byrne also added, “We’re not saying we’re seceding today, we’re saying let’s look into it.” Only two folks in the standing room only crowd at the meeting voiced opposition to pursuing secession from the state of California. Less than one month ago Siskiyou County voted in favor of initiating the California secession process during a Board of Supervisors meeting.
Jefferson Declaration Committee representative Mark Baird had this to say about the secession movement:
“California is essentially ungovernable in its present size. We lack the representation to address the problems that affect the north state. We’re looking for 12 counties, though we can certainly do it with less.”
In order for the state of Jefferson to exist, or any other state secession plan to be successful, the respective state legislatures would have to approve the request to secede. After that milestone was reached, Congressional approval would then be required. The Constitution mandates that “no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction or two or more states, or parts of states” without the approval of the noted governing bodies.
Siskiyou County Supervisor Marcia Armstrong had this to say about adding to the state of Jefferson communities:
“We are delighted to have Modoc County join Siskiyou in seeking to establish the formation of a new state. Modoc County has validated our belief that the current state of California is ungovernable and its policies are unrepresentative of the needs and values of Northern California communities. It is a fact that we have little input into decisions affecting us. We have no clout in how state resources are allocated to meet our needs and very little to say about the myriad regulations and fees under which we are struggling. It also seems that California bureaucrats are succeeding in some perverse quest to replace local elected government with unelected regional planning and management councils.”
Significant portions of Siskiyou County, and much of the Northern California region are comprised of federally owned land. Residents reportedly feel that they have an ever-decreasing say in how their natural resources are utilized.