West Maryland? Citizens Call for Secession

Cortney O'Brien

9/9/2013 5:00:00 PM - Cortney O'Brien

Marylanders sick of Annapolis’s liberal agenda are hoping to follow in West Virginia’s footsteps and secede from the state they begrudgingly belong to.

From the Washington Post:

{...} A 49-year-old information technology consultant wants to apply the knife to Maryland’s five western counties. “The people are the sovereign,” says Scott Strzelczyk, leader of the fledgling Western Maryland Initiative, and the western sovereigns are fed up with Annapolis’s liberal majority, elected by the state’s other sovereigns.

“If you think you have a long list of grievances and it’s been going on for decades, and you can’t get it resolved, ultimately this is what you have to do,” says Strzelczyk, who lives in New Windsor, a historic town of 1,400 people in Carroll County. “Otherwise you are trapped.”

Strzelczyk launched a Western Maryland Initiative Facebook page in July, which is now just shy of 2,500 likes. He, along with other more conservative-minded citizens in the Western counties of Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll, are growing weary of the state's stance on issues like gun control, taxes, energy policy, gay marriage and immigration. 

Suzanne Reisig Olden, a Carroll County paralegal, for instance, explains on Facebook how she is fed up with legislation like the “rain tax,” a stormwater management fee, which was approved last year.

“Taxing the friggin’ rain?” she says. “The next thing they tax will be the air we breathe.”

Maryland isn’t the only state facing secessionist rhetoric because of unpopular liberal policies. Nearly a dozen northern Colorado counties have nonbinding referendums set for November ballots, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is trying to join with parts of Wisconsin and Northern California counties want to form a state called Jefferson, according to the WaPo.

The last time a state successfully seceded from another was in 1863, when West Virginia won its independence from the Old Dominion. Citizens like Strzelczyk are hoping for a similar outcome for folks in Maryland who want to be free from the Free State.

“If you don’t belong in their party,” Strzelczyk says of Democrats, “you’ll never have your views represented” in Maryland. “If we have more states,” he says, “we can all go live in states that best represent us, and then we can get along.”