Weld plan to secede is unlikely to succeed
Weld County is serious about possibly seceding from Colorado, along with a few other counties in the northeastern part of the state, and forming a new state, County Commissioner Sean Conway said this week.
Why, it’s so serious, in fact, the county will have a schedule of meetings prepared later this week, meetings to discuss the proposal with people from other counties, as well as citizens of Weld County.
Excuse our skepticism, but this is all balderdash. It’s political posturing and little more. It has as much chance of actually occurring as, say, the 1970s effort led by a then-Mesa County state representative to have the Western Slope secede from Colorado and form a new state with eastern Utah.
As recorded by former Daily Sentinel political reporter Mary Louise Giblin, that effort went nowhere, but it did garner a few headlines, much as the Weld County temper tantrum is doing now. And the ostensible reasons for secession were similar: Those dang Denver politicians don’t listen and don’t care what’s occurring in far-flung rural parts of this state.
There’s some truth to that, of course. We, like the Weld County commissioners, were disappointed when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 252 last week to mandate new renewable energy standards for rural electric cooperatives. As a column below suggests, Hickenlooper seems to have signed the bill primarily to placate environmentalists in the Democratic Party base.
But green energy, gun control and gas regulation — the major gripes cited by the Weld County folks — are not sufficient reason to carve out a new state.
That new state would require a new governor, legislature and judiciary — in short, an entirely new bureaucracy — that would have to be paid for by a population of a few hundred thousand people. And it would soon encounter the same partisan and geographic rifts as any existing state.
Yes, there is a lot of oil and gas drilling in that region right now, adding to the tax base, but that could change quickly, as western Colorado has seen. It’s hard to believe there is either the sales tax or income tax base to support a state of North Colorado.
But even more problematic than the governing concerns are the political realities. In addition to winning the approval of voters in their respective counties, the counties seeking to secede would have to win approval from Congress and the president.
The chances of that approval coming from a Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate and a Democratic president, for a new state that would be overwhelmingly Republican, are nil.
Conway is an experienced political operative who has worked in Washington for congressmen and senators. He knows what is realistic politically. But he also understands how talk of secession garners publicity and perhaps can drive support for a Republican resurgence in Colorado next year.Am dolum eat