2:00pm

Mon October 14, 2013
Politics

As Ballots Are Mailed, Weld Commissioners Continue Push For 51st State

After Oct. 15, citizens of Weld County will start to see mail-in ballots arrive. Included in the off-year ballot are mayoral, city council and school district races. It will also include ballot question 1A, asking if the county should pursue separating from Colorado to form a new state.

The question in front of Weld voters reads specifically, “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?”

The same question is also in front of voters in several other counties with language addressing their specific locale.

With the election less than a month away, Weld County Commissioners continue to make their case for forming a 51st state. To that end, they have released a series of editorials focusing on concerns over education, the rural/urban divide and water rights.

Some of those same concerns were echoed by Firestone Mayor Chad Auer. He recently told the The Daily Camera, "The general pulse of the community is folks are fairly frustrated with how things are going in the Legislature in Denver."

Post-flood, the drive to form a new state continues to be a serious issue for some. As the Camera further quotes Auer:

"This isn't just a bunch of people feeling like the last legislative session didn't go our way," Auer said. "It's bigger than that."

While both Republicans and Democrats might view the 2013 session as aggressive, he said, "the majority of people in Firestone feel it was aggressive in a negative way."

Another point of contention has been the legislation on green energy standards for rural co-ops. The most recent commissioner editorial, from Barbara Kirkmeyer, took umbrage over SB252’s passage.

It hasn’t been just the hot button topics of gun control, oil and gas, and energy standards either.

In an editorial dated Oct. 8, Commissioner Mike Freeman focused on what he called the “erosion of local control” over education in rural communities. Freeman said the state’s failures regarding education are traceable to two things: “unfunded mandates and the loss of local control.”

He notes revenue from state lands that fund K-12 education are not fairly distributed. Freeman states that 70 percent of state land revenue come from Weld County, but “the majority of the money goes to Denver, which has no state lands within its boundaries.” 

In a recent report, the I-News Network found Colorado spends $520 million on K-12 funding, incarcerating criminals and other costs in the 11 counties seeking secession. The report adds, "Colorado spends between about $60 million and $120 million or more a year in the 11 counties then the revenue it receives."

It's a dollar amount that secessionists have contested. 

You can read Commissioner Freeman's editorial here. Commissioner Kirkmeyer’s editorial is below.