Western Maryland counties ask to join West Virginia
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Three counties in Maryland are trying to see if they can leave the state. Allegany, Garrett, and Washington County lawmakers are plotting a run for the border – they want to be added to West Virginia.
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In a press conference, the Mountain State’s Governor Jim Justice said he would gladly accept the Marylanders and would be "tickled to death" to have them join.
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox went to Hagerstown to ask people, do you want to say bye to Maryland?
Rick Hayslip said, "I think a lot of people would like to be part of West Virginia."
"I honestly like being part of Maryland," said Noble Almulk J.R. EL.
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"In this part of the state, West Virginia’s political views may match us better," said Kathy Barr.
Another man passing by on a bike added, "I don’t want to be part of West Virginia."
While some believe this is a ridiculous political stunt, others point out that Maryland is better off financially than West Virginia so residents need to consider that before wanting to leave.
In a letter, the six Maryland Republican lawmakers from Allegany, Garrett and Washington County say to Republican leaders in West Virginia that joining their state would be mutually beneficial.
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The handful of Western Maryland lawmakers are voicing that their rural and conservative constituents have been fed up with their overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic fellow Marylanders. The lawmakers believe their residents have the same beliefs and more in common with people on the other side of the country road in neighboring West Virginia.
"I feel like Western Maryland does not get the resources from the urban places like Baltimore and down toward there. We are frequently forgotten back here. So I understand why a lot of these residents want to move to West Virginia if they feel like they’ll be taken care of and heard because right now, I feel like a lot of the times, we’re overlooked," said Rachel Zayas.
Can this actually happen?
Meryl Justin Chertoff, Executive Director, Georgetown Project on State & Local Government Policy and Law sent Fox 5 this explanation:
"It is unlikely that the three Maryland counties would be successful in a bid to join West Virginia. Although the counties are contiguous to West Virginia, which would be a threshold requirement, a reallocation of land between states would require (1) a vote of both state legislatures, (2) followed by consent of the voters in both states through referendum, as well as (3) the consent of Congress.
She adds, "There are only four times that states have been carved out of other states: when Maine separated from Massachusetts as part of the Missouri compromise; when West Virginia separated from Virginia, and when Vermont and Kentucky were formed. But note that those were new states that formed, not the movement of individual counties."
In an interview with a Fox station in Baltimore last week, Governor Larry Hogan said he thinks this was a publicity stunt for attention.