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Residents in Weld County will get to vote on 51st state question

Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway rallies supporters at the 2012 Republican National Convention. He says rural Coloradans are "tired of being ignored, (and) tired of being politically disenfranchised."

Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway rallies supporters at the 2012 Republican National Convention. He says rural Coloradans are "tired of being ignored, (and) tired of being politically disenfranchised."

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — County commissioners in Weld County approved an initiative to allow the county to secede from the state Monday morning.

Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of placing a 51st state initiate on the November ballot.

The initiative reads: “Shall the Board of County Commissioners of Weld County, in concert with the county commissioners of other Colorado counties, pursue becoming the 51st state of the United States of America?”

Weld County has had a series of meetings talking about seceding from Colorado in recent months.

Ten counties (Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma) participated in several discussions throughout June and July regarding the statehood initiative, and several counties held public meetings to hear comments from residents, said county spokeswoman Jennifer Finch.

Commissioners have cited a feeling that northeastern Colorado counties are ignored by the state legislature.

One of the advocates for a new state of North Colorado, Sean Conway, told FOX31 Denver that he and other commissioners feel the state government has been ignoring values of rural counties when passing recent legislation including gun control measures, expanding oil and gas production and creating new renewable energy standards for rural areas.

“The concerns of rural Coloradans have been ignored for years,” said Commissioner Chairman William Garcia in a statement. “The last session was the straw that broke the camel’s back for many people. They want change. They want to be heard. Policies being passed by the legislature in Denver are having negative impacts on the lives of rural Coloradans. This isn’t an ‘R’ versus ‘D’ issue; it’s much bigger than that.”

Any move to secede would require votes in each county. Then the plan would require the approval of the state legislature and the governor in order to petition Congress to create a new state, the newspaper reported.

Liberals have mocked the move on blogs and on Twitter, where some tossed around new names for a separate, northern Colorado state: “Weldistan”, “Tancredonia” and “Fracktopia.”

“It’s embarrassing for them, and it’s embarrassing for the people they represent,” Jason Bane, the founder of the blog ColoradoPols, told FOX31 Denver in June. “They complain that the legislature didn’t listen to them — they DID listen to them, but in a Democracy, there are lots of other people who have viewpoints, and they don’t all throw a tantrum just because a vote doesn’t go their way.”