Northern Colorado wants to secede, with lawmakers starting to draw up boundaries of a new state they say will better represent the interests of their rural region.
The succession plan stems from growing anger over sweeping gun control legislation passed this year, as the state’s plans to move toward renewable resources and away from the oil and gas drilling prevalent in northern Colorado.
West County Commissioner Sean Conway said northern Colorado wants to secede because its “very way of life is under attack.” He said new state known as North Colorado would better represent the interest of people who live in the area, who lawmakers say are now being disenfranchised.
“This is not a stunt. This is a very serious deliberative discussion that’s going on,” Conway told CBS Denver. “There’s a real feeling that a lot of folks who come from the urban areas don’t appreciate the contribution that many Coloradans contribute.”
The secession plans are more than just idle talk. Representatives from eight counties in northern Colorado — along with two counties in Nebraska — met to discuss borders of the possible state. The lawmakers say they want to put the secession plan to a vote in November.
Congressman Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, Colorado, has lent his support as well. Gardner says Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper and the state assembly have “assaulted our way of life.”
“I don’t blame people one bit for feeling attacked and unrepresented by the leaders in our state,” he told Denver’s 9 News last month.
Colorado has not been alone in its attempts to secede. Residents from 30 states filed petitions to splinter after President Barack Obama was re-elected in November.
The last state to splinter was West Virginia, leaving Virginia to become its own state during the Civil War.
Conway said he is well aware of the historical precedent.
“I know you think, wow, this is crazy when you first hear about it, but then you realize that five of our states — Vermont, Maine, Tennessee, Wyoming and Kentucky — came about in this fashion, and the circumstances were very similar to what we’re going through now.”
For Colorado to secede, it would need approval from voters, the Colorado General Assembly, and United States Congress.