Conservative Counties Want to Secede from Maryland

A group called the Western Maryland Initiative, incensed that their heavily conservative part of Maryland is ignored by the rest of the largely liberal state in the state’s legislative process, is calling for the five counties of Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll to secede and form their own state.

The leader of the movement, Scott Strzelczyk, said the conservatives want an “amicable divorce,” but are determined to have more “personal liberty, less government intrusion, less federal entanglements.” He said of the Democrats who dominate the state, “If you don’t belong in their party, you’ll never have your views represented... If we have more states, we can all go live in states that best represent us, and then we can get along.”

The odds of secession are slim to none, as the five counties comprise only 11 percent of Maryland’s population. The movement can only succeed if the state legislature and Congress give permission. The last successful secession was when West Virginia seceded from Virginia 150 years ago.

Strzelczyk’s Facebook page delineating his goal has more than 2,200 likes so far. But Sen. Jamin Raskin, a law professor at American University and a Democrat from Montgomery County, said, “The rhetoric of secession today is the language of a protest movement, not a serious campaign to change political geography. Western Maryland is a vast and important part of our state, and I’m sure nobody wants to let it go.”


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