Sunday, March 09, 2014 2:28 PM
Published on: Thursday, September 05, 2013
By Donna Broadway
NEW WINDSOR - If Carroll County resident, Scott Strzelczyk, has his way, whenever a Montgomery County resident crosses the border into Frederick, he or she will be crossing state lines. Strzelczyk, a legal activist, writer and radio host, launched a Facebook page in July 2013 in support of seceding or un-marrying, a term that Strzelczyk and his supporters prefer, the five western counties of Maryland: Frederick, Carroll, Garrett, Allegany and Washington into a new state called Western Maryland or West Maryland.
“We do not have representation in this State. The state is controlled and dominated by three jurisdictions: Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Baltimore City. Annapolis could care less about the people in the five western counties. The only two things we can count on from Annapolis are: they will assault our rights and our wallets,” Strzelczyk said. “Consent of the governed means we can withdraw our consent. We have not given consent to the oppressive laws and regulations imposed by Annapolis on the five western counties.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s office declined to comment on the effort and Rep. John Delaney’s office, which represents four of the five counties named in the Western Maryland initiative in the 6th District, called the idea “utterly ridiculous.”
The last time a state successfully seceded from another state was in 1863, when the western counties of Virginia decided to become another state instead of leaving the Union. In recent years, counties and even states have threatened secession, but none have come to fruition.
Residents of Pima County, Ariz., wrote a proposal in 2011 to form a new state called Baja Arizona. The Washington State Legislature has considered measures to split the state into two separate entities, Western Washington and Eastern Washington, and in Weld County, Colo., several citizens have proposed a plan where Weld County and seven other counties in northeastern Colorado would secede and form a new state called North Colorado. Its reasons are similar to those of the Western Maryland supporters: the residents believe the state isn’t as concerned with the economic interests of the rural area.
Strzelczyk cites Article I of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, which states the people have the right to alter, reform or abolish their form of government as they see fit. Article VI states that people may reform or establish a new government if their government is deemed to be perverted, endangered and ineffectual.
If the secession is successful, Maryland would lose one congressional seat and Montgomery County may have to be reassigned to new a congressional district since the county shares the 6th District and 8th District with counties involved in the secession.
“We’ve never heard from constituents on this idea. Not in our Hagerstown office, nor during our office hours in Cumberland and McHenry,” said Delaney Communications Director Will McDonald. “Congressman Delaney is fully committed to serving the people of Western Maryland and to giving Western Maryland and the entire 6th District a voice in Washington. What we hear from Western Maryland every day, from constituents and local officials, is that they want a member of Congress committed to working across the aisle to get things done and create jobs. Congressman Delaney knows that too many people are struggling to get by and that’s why he’s working on real solutions to real problems.”
The five western counties have a total of 653,147 people, 2,636 square miles and 580,243 of total farm acreage. The region is home to two of the state’s top ten wealthiest counties, Frederick and Carroll, but Washington County is ranked 17th out of 24 in poverty and Garrett and Allegany are the 21st and 23rd poorest counties in Maryland. But Strzelczyk is not worried about those statistics. The next steps in the movement are public engagement.
Currently, the Facebook page only has 2,205 likes, which is half of one percent of the 407,000 registered voters in the county. Strzelczyk and his supporters will be communicating with county commissioners, state delegates and senators, and the public at public meetings.
For more information on the Western Maryland initiative, visit https://www.facebook.com/FreeWesternMaryland and http://sas4liberty.wordpress.com/.
Posted By: Butch Zachrel On: 9/9/2013
Title: Western Maryland: A New State Initiative
Please report that Western Maryland: A New State Initiative Facebook site delete's post that disagree. "The Western Maryland page is for discussion on forming a new state from the five western counties of Maryland." as they state on their Facebook is not true!
Posted By: MJS On: 9/9/2013
Title: Facebook PAGE
The article calculates the proportion of facebook "likes" to the actual number of county residents. I would think many of the "likes" come from outsiders Wouldn't that "nullify" the calculation