State Watch

Group in Colorado county seeks secession from state to join Wyoming

A group of disenfranchised Colorado residents are exploring the possibility of annexing from their home state and changing boundary lines so their entire county becomes part of Wyoming.

Christopher "Todd" Richards is leading the effort with his "Weld County Wyoming" political committee, created last February, according to local outlet Fox 31 KDVR.

The organization is working to get a measure added to the November 2021 ballot that would encourage county commissioners to "engage and explore the annexation of Weld County with the State of Wyoming's Legislature."

The purpose of the measure is to "get out from under the thumb" of Colorado's more liberal government, according to the group's Facebook page.

"Denver and Boulder have declared war not only on Weld County, but common sense itself with regulations designed to kill energy jobs," according to one November post. "Putting radical animal rights activists in positions of power over the ranching industry, two of Weld's key economic drivers. They are also at war with small businesses. People who hold traditional values are vilified as racist homophobic (misogynist) bigots."

An online petition, which currently has more than 8,400 signatures, also cites concerns about 2nd Amendment rights.

"Denver/Boulder have drove weapons manufacturers out of the state," the petition states. "Rural schools, hospitals and all rural communities are getting ignored. Denver/Boulder only care about Denver/Boulder."

Richards acknowledged that the process would be "long" and "daunting."

"Can this be done? Yes, it can be done. Is it going to be easy? No," Richards said during a meeting posted to YouTube in November. 

 

USA Today noted that the reallocation of any county would require votes in both state legislatures in addition to the U.S. Congress.

A similar effort is underway in Oregon, where residents of Jefferson and Union counties approved ballot measures to push lawmakers to consider relocating to Idaho to align more with their political beliefs.

The Colorado county, east of Fort Collins, currently has a population of more than 324,000 people, according to The Colorado Sun.

Wyoming, with about 579,000 residents, has been the nation's least populated state for more than three decades. If the Weld County movement were successful, it would boost Wyoming's population by more than 50 percent and Vermont could become the country's least populated state.

The mayor of Erie, a town in between Boulder and Weld counties, said in a statement to Fox31 that there are a lot of considerations Weld County voters must take into account. 

Jennifer Carroll cited issued such as "income tax, personal property tax, corporate state income tax, retirement income tax, gas tax, severance taxes on oil and gas, and water rights to name a few."

"As the Mayor of Erie, I respect the process and the cornerstone of voting," said Carroll. "Ultimately, the people will choose the outcome. In my role, I can help residents discover the risks and benefits of such a measure. This measure will undoubtedly require a great deal of pre-education for voters."

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