Will the American flag soon need to be altered? Adding a 51st star to Old Glory may be a possibility if counties in northern Colorado are able to secede from the state.
Ten of the state's rural counties - Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld, and Yuma - are petitioning for a November ballot proposal to secede from Colorado and create North Colorado. Though during a recent meeting in Washington County, some voiced their opinions for a less costly alternative.
Dubbed the "Phillips County Plan" because of its submission by Phillips County administrator Randy Schafer during the Monday meeting, the plan would seek better representation for the rural areas of North and Northeastern Colorado in the House and Senate. Currently the Colorado General Assembly bases its decisions on population, not area. However if the state legislature does not approve the plan, the counties could look into a citizens initiative to reach the same goal.
Though the divide between the representation for the rural and urban areas of Colorado are evident, many citizens are concerned about the obstacles the counties would face in creating a new state. These include the cost of creating new statewide systems for the courts and law enforcement, highway funding, critical water agreements, as well as getting the approval of the United States Congress, the Colorado General Assembly, and voters. Even with these worries, Weld County commissioners would like to move forward with both the ballot to secede and the "Phillips County Plan."
Whether it be better representation in the state, or the creation of a new state, the people of the rural communities want to be heard. Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway told CBS4 in Denver, “We need to figure out a way to re-enfranchise the people who feel politically disenfranchised now and ignored,”
The move toward a secession gained momentum with Weld County after state bills regarding rural energy, oil and gas development, and gun control were signed. Though this is not the first time some Coloradans have wanted to secede, this time the citizens are taking larger strides to achieve change.