Latest Secession Attempt: Western Maryland

Group wants to form its own, very sparsely populated, state

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 10, 2013 8:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – Secession is all the rage these days, and the latest movement is taking shape in Maryland. The Western Maryland Initiative, a group led by Scott Strzelczyk, is looking to break off the five western counties from the rest of the state, the Washington Post reports. Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll counties are more rural; their residents are mostly white, earn less than their fellow Marylanders, and are largely Republicans in a very blue state. With about 650,000 residents, they make up just 11% of the state's population; that's about the size of DC, notes Think Progress. Strzelczyk envisions a state—called Western Maryland or West Maryland, reports the Sentinel—with more "personal liberty, less government intrusion." He's personally pro-gun, anti-Department of Education, and OK with medical marijuana.

"If you don’t belong in [the Democratic] party, you’ll never have your views represented" in Maryland, says Strzelczyk. "If we have more states, we can all go live in states that best represent us, and then we can get along." (He doesn't want to move to another state, however.) But secession is notoriously difficult to achieve, and the Sentinel points out that the 3,000 people who have "liked" the group's Facebook page make up fewer than 1% of the area's 407,000 registered voters. Political experts say the effort isn't likely to see results, and Strzelczyk knows he has a ways to go—his effort doesn't even have a website yet. (When it comes to possible secession, Northern Colorado's attempt is currently the furthest along.)

This July 21, 2012 photo shows a cannon in front of the "Best" farm outside of Frederick, Md.   (AP Photo/Chris Sullivan)
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