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Rural counties threaten secession, formation of 51st state

8:33 PM, Jun 6, 2013   |    comments
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FORT COLLINS - One corner of rural Colorado is so fed up with the leftward lurch of our state that county leaders are talking secession by creating the 51st state.

Weld County Commissioners say other leaders in northeastern Colorado are ready to go with them, citing concerns that they are being ignored on issues like energy and agriculture.

"Our very way of life is under attack," Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said on Thursday.

The Republican says Wednesday's signing of Senate Bill 252 by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, which critics say would increase rates for only rural Colorado while at the same time promoting renewable energy, was the last straw.

"That is a direct assault on rural Colorado," Weld County Commissioner Mike Freeman said.

At a recent meeting of county commissioners from all over the state, Conway says roughly 10 counties warmed to the idea of a petition to create a new state.

"That state would be the state of Northern Colorado," Conway said.

"Some would call it extreme, maybe aggressive, and I would say absolutely. I think extreme times call for extreme actions," Weld County Commissioner Doug Rademacher, a Republican, said.

The process will be daunting. Voters in each county would need to vote for the idea. Then statehood would need to be approved by the state legislature, the governor and Congress.

The last state to do this effectively was West Virginia in 1863.

"What I would say to those folks in Denver that say this doesn't have any chance? We're not going to take this seriously? Beware, because we're not going away," Conway said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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