NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

2013 Murrow Continuing Coverage Entry: Colorado's Nascent 51st State Movement

Colorado’s 2013 legislative session was one of the most divisive in recent memory. The Democratic majority in both houses paved the way for gun control legislation and a bill that raised renewable energy standards for rural electric co-ops. Colorado Republicans fired back with recall elections, and in rural Colorado, a 51st state movement emerged.

The KUNC Newsroom followed the 51st state idea from its infancy to the November 2013 election, when 11 counties weighed the initiative. While the idea may have been a longshot, the strong political underpinnings were both emotional and complex.

06.26.13 - Could Colorado's Partisan Divide Lead To A 51st State?
By Grace Hood

Weld County Commissioners publicly met with leaders from nine other rural eastern Colorado counties yesterday to discuss the creation of a new 51st state. The idea may sound far-fetched. But the emotions driving the move are very real. KUNC’s Grace Hood sat down to talk with Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway about the plan.

07.09.13 - For The Politically Disenfranchised: A New State Or A Change At The Legislature?
By Grace Hood

A new plan is emerging among Colorado’s 10 northeastern counties to address a growing sense of rural frustration. On Monday leaders met to discuss the controversial topic of creating a 51st state. But many thought the obstacles were too great. KUNC’s Grace Hood sat down with Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway to find out how the counties may be banding together to increase their representation in the state Legislature.

07.31.13 - What's Ahead And Behind Colorado's 51st State Movement
By Grace Hood

Weld County commissioners will hold the last in a series of public meetings tonight on the question of forming a 51st state which could involve as many as 10 eastern Colorado counties and parts of Nebraska and Kansas. Realizing this task will take an act from the Colorado State Legislature and Congress—it’s a long shot to say the least. KUNC’s Grace Hood has more.

08.14.13 - History Weighs On Colorado's 51st State Movement
By Erin OToole

A final decision is expected next week on whether Weld and other northeastern Colorado counties will place a question creating a 51st state on the November election ballot. The process to get to this point almost reads like a case study for adjunct history professor Derek Everett, who is writing a book about the creation of boundaries in the American West and the role secession plays in that history. KUNC’s Erin O’Toole spoke with Everett about the movement in Colorado. 

10.30.13 - The 51st State: Making A 'Dull Election Year Quite Interesting'
By Erin OToole

Voters in 11 counties next week are being asked to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the idea of breaking away from the rest of Colorado. While Moffat County would become part of Wyoming, 10 counties in the northeastern part of the state would join to form the state of “North Colorado.” KUNC’s Erin O’Toole spoke with Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway - who has been a leading voice of the movement.

11.06.13 - 51st State Supporters Get Mixed Message At The Polls
By Nathan Heffel

More than half of the 11 Colorado counties with secession questions on Tuesday’s election ballot gave approval for their county commissioners to continue with the effort of pursuing a 51st state. But as KUNC’s Nathan Heffel reports voters soundly rejected the idea in Weld county where the movement began in July.

12.20.13 - 51st State Movement Now Looks To The Capitol
By Grace Hood

Colorado legislators may see a revival of the 51st state debate under the dome in 2014.The movement lost steam after only five out of 11 counties passed initiatives last November. But as KUNC’s Grace Hood reports, advocacy work continues—although with far less fanfare.