Grand County commissioners will discuss joining 11 other Colorado counties in forming a 51st state.
The discussion is slated during regular commissioner meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 1:30 p.m. The 51st State Initiative sent a letter to commissioners explaining the movement on Aug. 14. Commissioner Merrit Linke asked for a secession discussion to be added to the agenda, saying he hopes to initiate a conversation about the measure.
“What people are telling me and what I’m hearing, especially in eastern Colorado, is that they don’t think there’s adequate representation for rural counties,” Linke said. “They seem to favor Front Range interests.”
While Linke stressed that he’s not taking a position one way or the other, he said it’s important to see if the community has any support for the idea. In order for the measure to be added to the November ballot, it would need to be approved soon.
To form a separate state, the counties need approval from voters, the Colorado State Legislature and the U.S. Congress. But the 51st State Initiative is also exploring two other ideas: annexing into Wyoming or restructuring the State Senate so it allows for one representative per county.
“I get that most of the population is on the Front Range,” Linke said. “But should we be a district with Boulder? I don’t think that’s adequate representation. Does that serve Grand County’s needs?”
Leia Larsen can be reached at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19603.