OLNEY, Ill. (WEHT) — In 1863, Virginia split into two states, leading to the creation of a new West Virginia. Now, people in Illinois are calling for a similar movement to take place.
Since 1959, the United States of America has consisted of 50 federal states. Some people in Illinois are demanding one more be added to the list. “
“I believe that it’s two different types of worlds when you look at rural and urban areas,” said Support Illinois Separation Chairman Collin Cliburn.
The Illinois Separation Group has made their way throughout the state, gathering signatures of support to separate Chicago from the rest of Illinois. The split would make the city the 51st state in the United States.
“I’m interested in helping separate the Chicago area so we can get back to living again without taxation and this terrible stuff that we’re going through,” said Ed Jones.
Jones is just one of many petitioners who say the government has let the southern part of the state down.
“We just continue to see everyday there’s new news stories about elected officials and their corruption. We see a different ideological viewpoint about how to govern ourselves,” said Illinois State Representative Brad Halbrok.
“I feel like the majority of down state Illinois feels the politicians up there, just don’t care what we say. I believe that they’re ones for more liberal things, kind of like abortion. You know it just upset everyone down here,” said Cliburn.
Cliburn says they’ve already gotten the full amount of required signatures in Edwards and Cumberland County and says the movement is gaining momentum in Jefferson and Effingham County.
“There’s this discussion about all of this wealth and how Chicago is a great economic engine, but they’ve got the poorest funded schools, they’ve got the highest amount of debt, a horrible pension funded system. Yet they’re supposed to be the answer for the rest of us,” said Halbrok.
Congress does have the power to admit Chicago as a new state, but the new territory needs to be officially signed into statehood by the President.
“The U.S. Constitution under Article 4 Section 3, guarantees us a small or republican form of government. We don’t have that today in Illinois,” said Halbrok.
(This story was originally published on August 4, 2019)