West Virginia governor urges unhappy Virginia counties to secede and join his state
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) encouraged Virginia counties unhappy with the Democratic-controlled government in Richmond to secede from the state and join his.
“If you’re not happy where you’re at, come on down,” Justice said reportedly said at a Tuesday press conference with Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. “If you’re not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere you may be. We stand strongly behind the Second Amendment, and we stand strongly for the unborn.”
In last year’s election, Democrats captured complete control of Virginia’s state government for the first time in more than two decades, prompting the party to propose stricter gun regulations, looser abortion laws and efforts to fight discrimination against the LGBTQ community. That has prompted a conservative resistance, including a rally this month in support of gun rights at the Virginia state capitol.
At least 91 of 95 Virginia counties and several other localities in the state have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, saying they will not enforce strict state gun restrictions.
Asked for reaction to Justice’s comments, the office of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said it “sounds like it’s an election year in West Virginia.”
Falwell, a prominent supporter of President Trump whose high-profile evangelical university is located in Lynchburg, Va., mourned the agenda of Virginia’s Democratic Party on Tuesday.
“What’s happening in Virginia right now is a tragedy in the making,” he said during the press conference. “Democrat leaders in Richmond, through their elitism and radicalism, have left a nearly unrecognizable state in their wake, and they are using their power to strip away the God-given rights held by every person in the state, despite their due protections under the U.S. Constitution.”
West Virginia lawmakers have reportedly introduced formal resolutions to allow Virginia counties to come to their state, The Associated Press reported. One resolution focused on Frederick County, while another targeted all Virginia counties.
Falwell said lawyers told him that in order to secede, there would need to be petition drives in the counties and then a referendum, according to the AP. If the referendum passed, it would go before Virginia’s General Assembly.
“As always, Jerry Falwell’s words speak for themselves,” a Northam spokesman told the AP.
Virginia Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D) called the succession proposal “preposterous,” saying West Virginia should focus on fixing its high poverty rate.