Blue Wave Prompts State Lawmaker To Propose Weld County Leave Colorado and Join Wyoming

(Always with the “secession” talk — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado State Senator John Cooke & U. S. Senator Cory Gardner

Colorado State Senator John Cooke & U. S. Senator Cory Gardner share a laugh in Feb. 2013, photo by Alison Noon/Greeley Tribune

In response to Democratic gains in this month’s election, State Sen. John Cooke (R-Greeley) now thinks Weld County has “a lot more in common with Wyoming than Boulder” and therefore should cut ties with Colorado and “join Wyoming.”

Sen. John Cooke speaks to Greeley Centennial Rotary

Sen. John Cooke talked secession at the Greeley Rotary last Thursday. It is unclear if the blue wave on the podium was intended to be ironic.

Republicans in northern Colorado first floated the idea of “seceding” from Colorado back in 2013, and Cook didn’t support it. But now he thinks Weld County should “join Wyoming,” as the Greeley Tribune reported Sunday:

In an appearance Thursday with Greeley Centennial Rotary, Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, said he didn’t support the secession movement when it happened, and now that the state is moving toward Democratic leadership at the top levels of the state government, he said Weld County would be better off joining its neighbor to the north.

“I’m thinking we oughta join Wyoming instead of seceding,” he said. “We have a lot more in common with Wyoming than Boulder. Gun control will be a big issue. They (Democrats) just can’t help themselves. They’ll ramrod a lot of bad policy through.”

Cooke is the most prominent Weld County Republican currently musing about abandoning Colorado, but he isn’t the only one. According to the Tribune, County Commissioner Sean Conway, who was a leader of 2013’s “51st State Movement,” received multiple calls asking about secession.

A call to secede also appeared on the comments section of the Weld County Republicans’ Facebook page. In part it read, “TIME TO END THE DENVER BOULDER FORT COLLINS TRIAD. TIME TO SECEDE! I have contacted the people behind the 2013 secession movement and we are ready to start again!”

While Weld County was the epicenter of the secession movement that culminated with an eleven-county referendum five years ago, voters rejected the notion despite Commissioner Conway’s enthusiasm. Of the eleven counties voting on the issue, only five approved the measure. The largest of those was Yuma County, home to U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO).

At the time, then-Congressman Gardner was in the early stages of his statewide campaign against incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall. Despite being a resident (and registered voter) of the county, he refused to say how he voted on secession ballot initiative.

Five years later, Gardner is again looking at a long and difficult statewide Senate campaign. Once again the candidate who likes to talk about his “Four Corners plan” definitely does not want to be talking about whether his hometown corner should tear itself away from the rest of our square state. If Sen. John Cooke continues to talk about secession publicly, he may find that Senator Gardner isn’t smiling quite as widely next time they meet.

This story first appeared on the Colorado Times Recorder.

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35 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    I never noticed before that Wyoming smelled all that bad? . . .

  2. unnamed says:

    Fine guys.  Take your ball and go home because you're getting your regressive way less and less.

  3. gertie97 says:

    Do they need help packing?

  4. 2Jung2Die2Jung2Die says:

    Love it! It's a very direct acknowledgement that Rs can't compete on their ideas in general elections right now, so all they have is to threaten secession or recalls. Plus, Weld-to-Wyoming would saddle their O&G producers with higher severance tax, and it would be easier for Ds to win statewide elections in Colorado because more Rs would go to our already-really-red neighbor to the north.

  5. DENependent says:

    This is a non-issue. While a majority of Coloradans MIGHT vote to give a slice of eastern Colorado to Nebraska and Kansas if an appeal were made to our sense of fairness and what is best for everyone, but Weld County to Wyoming? No. I would expect such a proposal at the ballot box to go down 70/30 against or more.

    It would cause too many tax and regulation avoidance problems. Bad enough all the idiots from Denver can drive 1 hour and 20 minutes to the firework stands just across the border, but these sore losers want to make Erie Colorado a border town? Never. Weld is half Denver metro suburbs. It makes no sense.

    If they hate being in the same state as Denver so much they need to move elsewhere.

  6. ParkHill says:

    Give us back our wind turbines!

    Wait, what are they going to do about the Weld County Urban corridor from Greeley through Brighton, Fort Lupton, Longmont, Northglen, and Thornton? 

  7. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Tee hee.  Let em go north.  Wyoming has stiff severance taxes and the bastards would finally have to pay their fair share!

    • DENependent says:

      Nah, they should move to their imagined pro-conservative paradise of Australia. Where real men are manly men digging coal and eating cute endangered animals. Or to New Hampshire as part of the "Free State Project". It would be funnier.

      • unnamed says:

        Yeah.  Too bad for them Australia has strict gun laws.

        • DENependent says:

          Oh, well then they should try Singapore. They've got the death penalty and are pro-business so surely it is like Republican candy land. They should pack now and get their tickets. No time to wait and check on the laws. Move, move, move! Take your guns before the crazy Denverites get them with the UN Blue Helicopters!

          (Shhh! If we can get even one gun nut to try this it would be better than the Onion..)

      • davebarnesdavebarnes says:

        Actually, NH is blue.
        Both house of the legislature and the Executive Council.

        Only the governor is a GOPer.

        • DENependent says:

          (Shhhh! Stop giving away my game.)

          2nd Amendment true believers! The Free State Project worked! New Hampshire is a libertarian paradise with no regulation! Move today! Save yourself from the liberal hellhole Colorado will become in January! You, Negev! Head for New Hampshire before it is too late! Eleventy!!!

    • ajb says:

      Wyoming would love the tax revenue, considering how desperate their budget is. But then again, it would just perpetuate their dependence on revenue from taxing fossil fuels. 

      • DENependent says:

        They'd love the population and climate too. More people live in the City and County of Denver than in the whole state of Wyoming presently.

        Weld would almost put them over 900,000. But not quite.

        It would be like Canada getting to annex the balmy southern climate of Michigan.

  8. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    They won't get to take their immigrant (documented, undocumented, and refugee) population from 20 different countries. This is only fair since the secessionists hate immigrants and basically anyone of a different culture, language, or skin color.

    They'll have to pack their own meat, pick their own veggies,  and wash their own sheets. Also dig their own pipelines and build their own houses. For fair wages. GLWT, Senator Cooke!

  9. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Honestly, I thought Senator Cooke had more sense than to propose such a thing. Wonder how Jerry Sonnenberg feels about it?

    I'll repeat what I've said on some other threads. Any seceding counties will owe the rest of the state big money for the infrastructure subsidized for them by the rest of the state. Let's start with all the buildings on campus at University of Northern Colorado.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Gilpin County has split school districts with the children in the north part of the county going to Nederland and the Boulder Valley School District.  This was done in the 50's when the school was in Central City and it was closer to go to Ned. 
      A deal was struck so that money from taxes paid by the operator of the Moffat Tunnel would go the BVSD.  Fifty years later, folks wanting to reintegrate the county have to come up with something like twenty million to pay their share of the bond indebtedness.  Like Brexit, withdrawal has it's costs.

  10. NoCo_Indy says:

    Someone needs to remind the kind folks in Weld County that Dave Young is the first statewide constitutional officer from Weld County in at least 50 years, and the first statewide election winner since Hank Brown.

    Oh, and Young represented Greeley as a Democrat, just like Jim Riesberg before him and Rochelle Galindo after him. Sigh.

  11. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Maybe we can work out a trade? Colorado gets the Democratic trending counties in Wyoming (Teton and Albany) and a land bridge for geographic contiguity. That would isolate a few southwestern Wyoming counties, so perhaps they could join Utah.

    Of course, that would put the U of Wyoming in Colorado, but we could work out details in WICHE (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) to allow students to attend at "in-state" tuition. 

    • ajb says:

      Um, last time I checked, out-of-state tuition at UW is less than in-state tuition at CU.  But the Wyoming legislature is busy gutting the UW budget and all the best faculty are fleeing, so you get what you pay for.

  12. Independent Voter says:

    Any alt right republicans can feel free to leave, it's a lot easier to move to Wyoming than to pull a county out of a state. Colorado is a centrist blue state not a liberal state. The republican party will continue to shrink until they move away from the far right and even then it's going to take years. Stop pissing and moaning and do something about the takeover of the republican party by alt right white nationalist or move to one of the very few states that welcome that type of leadership.

  13. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    Why is Cory smiling in that photo?

    1. He knows he is having a conversation with an idiot. Literally.

    2. He plans to cut your Medicare and Social Security.

  14. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Remember the time Mr. Andrews wrote an entire study on 'grass roots government' touting the 'Weld County model' and how those boot-strappers up north were something we should all aspire to be?   It turns out Mr. Andrews Weld County fantasy had a lot in common with his mythical Backbone, CO….(and an interweb search for his much-touted study leaves one empty-handed).

    Can the residents of the mythical 51st-state just stop with their rugged independence schtick and start celebrating the unique and beneficial interdependence between rural and urban Colorado?  

  15. RepealAndReplace says:

    Didn't his story about Brokeback, CO feature a talking cat? I thought Blue Cat was the only feline who could carry on a conversation.

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