Republicans in the state of Illinois have grown weary of the continued trouble coming from the Democrat-run city of Chicago, and according to new reports, are now discussing plans to completely separate the city from the state.
The move would effectively turn Chicago into the 51st US state, which would bring further issues to future elections.
“It’s more of a frustration of the policies, than the true belief that Chicago and Illinois would be better off as separate states,” explained Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer.
From The Western Journal:
Fed up with the political weight carried by the heavily Democratic city of Chicago, some Illinois Republicans are attempting to have the city removed from the state entirely.
According to the Pew Trusts’ Stateline, a resolution has been introduced in the state legislature that seeks to separate the Chicago metropolitan area from the rest of Illinois, turning the city of 2.7 million into the 51st state in the union.
Citing major disagreement between “residents in downstate Illinois” and “City of Chicago residents on key issues such as gun ownership, abortion, immigration, and other policy issues,” the bill calls on the U.S. Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to create a new state from lands in an existing state.
Also pointing to a “$221 million bailout” of the Chicago pension plan last year, Republican legislators presenting the bill say that the overwhelming political and monetary power of the city makes it too difficult for predominantly conservative residents in the rest of the state to have a voice.
“Our traditional family values seem to be under attack at every angle. We are trying to drive the discussion to get people at the table to say these are not our values down here,” Rep. Brad Halbrook told the State Journal-Register last month.
“When you have a large population center that seems to control the agenda for the rest of the state, it just kind of creates some issues,” Halbrook said. “The Constitution gives us a pathway, so we’ll see what happens.”
This would not be the first time the U.S. Congress has created a new state from lands formerly recognized as part of an already existing one.
However, it would be the first time in many years, with the most recent examples being the creation of Maine from Massachusetts in 1820 or West Virginia from Virginia during the Civil War.
As of this week, just eight of the 44 Republicans in the state assembly have signed on in support of the bill, according to Stateline.
Despite the long odds, however, several cosponsors say they feel the bill is worth introducing — even if only to spark an important discussion.
“It’s more of a frustration of the policies than the true belief that Chicago and Illinois would be better off as separate states. I don’t believe that Chicago and the state of Illinois should be separated. Our relationship is mutually beneficial,” Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer said.
According to Davidsmeyer, constituents in rural Illinois feel they are being hamstrung by policies and regulations implemented by Chicago politicians, and his involvement in the push is meant to allow those voices to be heard.
“People say Chicago’s a huge economy, there’s no way you can survive without them, (but) I have people on the other side saying Chicago’s killing us with their policies, we need to separate,” he said. “I’m one of the people in the middle saying let’s see both sides of it.”
Halbrook, on the other hand, told Stateline the bill is not simply a chance for him to make a statement. He says he’s “trying to save the state.”
“Everywhere I go, people say we just need to get rid of Chicago,” Halbrook said. “[This bill] gets rid of all of our problems.”
Despite much argument, it appears the movement is picking up some steam according to Stateline.
The outlet’s report indicates that three counties downstate have enough signatures to establish referenda pertaining to separation.
Chicago Democrats are not alone in facing pushback from rural and suburban constituents in recent months, either.
Last year movements began nationwide, with grassroots support growing for a proposal that would separate eastern Washington state from the progressive Seattle metropolitan area and establish a new state called Liberty.
A similar movement, which called for the separation of California into three states, even gained enough steam last year to be put on the state’s ballot for the 2018 midterm elections. The measure was later removed, however, upon review in the state’s Supreme Court.