Secession is the talk of Modoc County, California, after the Board of Supervisors voted to join adjacent Siskiyou County in its bid to separate from the state – thereby joining a secessionist movement that is sweeping the country and could result in the 51st state.
The idea is growing in popularity, with 17 percent of Americans – nearly 1 in 5 — now saying they’d support their section of their state forming a new state, according to a Rasmussen poll.
Modoc County Board of Supervisors Chair Geri Byrne noted that the vote supported the formation of a state of Jefferson. The vote to secede from California was unanimous, with one supervisor absent from the meeting.
“California is essentially ungovernable in its present size,” said Mark Baird, a spokesperson for the Jefferson Declaration Committee. “We lack the representation to address the problems that affect the north state. We’re looking for 12 counties, though we can certainly do it with less.”
Byrne said she placed the measure up for approval because a “number of people” in the district supported secession and the creation of a state of Jefferson.
“We’re not saying we’re seceding today, we’re saying let’s look into it,” Byrne said.
Only two people in the standing-room-only crowd at the meeting voiced opposition to pursuing secession from California. Less than one month ago Siskiyou County voted in favor of initiating the California secession process.
According to Baird, the state of Jefferson economy could ultimately become 15 percent larger than the state of New Mexico economy. Siskiyou and Modoc Counties are primarily rural municipalities. Modoc has a population of approximately 9,300 citizens. Siskiyou County’s population is about 44,000 residents.
The more populated area of California’s northern region have not yet voted to investigate the possibility of secession or joining the state of Jefferson – although some are reportedly considering the idea. Butte County, the most populated in Northern California, has a secession vote scheduled for October 22, the Chico Enterprise-Record reported.
Rural California residents say they feel they have no representation in the state capitol and have little in common with the southern and central portions of the state. Redding City Council Vice Mayor Patrick Jones believes that when a state is so diverse, it should be split. The local elected official also said, “At this point, I don’t care how the state is split, as long as they cut me off from Sacramento and beyond.”
If the state of Jefferson becomes a reality, Northern California and portions of Southern Oregon could be combined. Although support for seceding from California has garnered more support in recent years, the idea of combing the parts of the two states originated during the 19th century, according to Fox News. The secession movement lost steam in 1941 not long after it started, due to attention being turned to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Rural Oregonians also feel under-represented and disconnected from the urban regions of the state, without a voice in the governing of the state.
“Modoc County has validated our belief that the current state of California is ungovernable and its policies are unrepresentative of the needs and values of Northern California communities,” said Siskiyou County Supervisor Marcia Armstrong. “… It is a fact that we have little input into decisions affecting us. We have no clout in how state resources are allocated to meet our needs and very little to say about the myriad regulations and fees under which we are struggling. It also seems that California bureaucrats are succeeding in some perverse quest to replace local elected government with unelected regional planning and management councils.”
Significant portions of Siskiyou County, and much of the Northern California, are comprised of federally owned land. Residents reportedly feel that they have an ever-decreasing say in how their natural resources are utilized.
A Maryland secession movement is also attracting supporters. A group of citizens reportedly upset with the liberal governing mindset want to split from the state. The western region of Maryland is comprised of five counties who largely lean Republican and who feel that they, too, are not represented in the state capitol.
Residents of Northern Colorado and the Upper Peninsula in Michigan are also working on state secession plans.
In order for the state of Jefferson to become a reality, or any other state secession plan to be successful, the respective state legislatures would have to approve the request to secede. After that milestone is reached, Congressional approval would then be required. The Constitution mandates that “no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction or two or more states, or parts of states” without the approval of the state and Congress.