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Movement Underway to Make Western Maryland a Separate State

Western Maryland Initiative's Facebook page has gotten around 5,000 likes in just two months.
FREDERICK, Md. - A movement is underway to have Western Maryland secede from the rest of Maryland and become its own state.

Western Maryland is known for its quaint downtown areas, its many farming families, and its majestic views but some people think the region has little in common with the rest of the state.

"We just have irreconcilable differences, and we want an amicable divorce," said Scott Strzelczyk, organizer of the Western Maryland Initiative.

Western Maryland Initiative's Facebook page has gotten around 5,000 likes in just two months.

Strzelczyk would like to see Maryland's five western counties, Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll, become the State of Western Maryland.

"Our political society doesn't reflect our values and how we wish to be governed, so we're choosing to say, 'We don't want to be a part of this one. We'd rather create a new one,'" Strzelczyk said. 

150 years ago, a group of Virginia counties broke off to form West Virginia. Organizers of the movement say they'll move forward and try to make Western Maryland a state if they get positive feedback from residents.

The idea received mixed feedback in downtown Frederick.

"The needs of the people in the rural areas of the State of Maryland are entirely different than the needs of the people in the suburban and urban settings in Maryland, and it's time that there's fair representation in Annapolis to address those needs," said Anthony Owens, who likes the idea.

"I am strongly in favor of people taking advantage of their Constitutional rights," Teresa Ruck said. 

"It makes me laugh, the whole idea of this. It just of seems kind of silly," said Dee Dee Kopp, who's against the idea.

The U.S. Constitution allows for secession, but Congress and the Maryland General Assembly would need to approve it.

"There's no magic to 50 states," Strzelczyk said. "We had 40 states and 30 states and 20 states, so what's wrong with 55 or 75 or 100 states where people can better live in communities, political societies, that reflect their needs?"

Strzelczyk says the next steps are holding public hearings and organizing a website in hopes of making rural Western Maryland the 51st state in the country.

Maryland's five western counties make up about 14 percent of the state's population. Similar secession efforts are going on in Florida, Colorado, and California.

To see the Western Maryland Initiative's Facebook page, click here.
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