Weld County… Wyoming?
Weld county residents, led by Cristopher “Todd” Richards, are attempting to “move a county to a different state.” They are looking to join Wyoming, leaving Colorado over the concerns that lawmakers are not paying attention to the needs of rural communities over the major cities. There is a committee called “Weld County Wyoming.” During a meeting for “Weld County Wyoming” a local pastor, Geoffrey Broughton, said Weld County was a better fit for Wyoming because Colorado was “at war with three major economic drivers for Weld County: small businesses, agriculture, and oil and gas.” The committee’s goal is to add a measure to the November 2021 ballot that would encourage county commissioners to “engage and explore the annexation of Weld County.” They have gathered the support of some of the local government; Weld County Commissioner and Colorado State Senator, Vicki Marble, publicly entertained a motion to secede in 2019. Wyoming’s Senator Mark Gordon has expressed his liking of the idea saying he would love for it to happen. A petition to move the county currently has 9,700 signatures. Advocates say Weld county identifies with the political views of Wyoming more so than Colorado. There are other members of the Colorado Government who don’t like the idea.
Local Government Pushback
There has been pushback from some members of the local government. The mayor of Erie, Jennifer Carroll, said in a statement to Fox31 there are a lot of considerations Weld County voters must take into account. “Income tax, personal property tax, corporate state income tax, retirement income tax, gas tax, severance taxes on oil and gas, and water rights to name a few.” Greeley City Council Member, Tommy Butler, told KDVR-TV “I absolutely love living in Colorado. For those that don’t love living here, there are certainly less ridiculous ways of moving to Wyoming.” Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado, also took to Facebook saying “Hands off Weld County, Governor Mark Gordon. Weld County is a thriving part of Colorado and Weld County residents are proud to be part of our great state. I do hear from so many Cheyenne residents, on the other hand, that they are culturally, economically and socially more connected to Colorado than Wyoming….” Will the voters be the deciding factor?
Do Voters Want Weld County, Wyoming?
“As the Mayor of Erie, I respect the process and the cornerstone of voting,” said Jennifer Carroll. “Ultimately, the people will choose the outcome. In my role, I can help residents discover the risks and benefits of such a measure. This measure will undoubtedly require a great deal of pre-education for voters.” She is correct. Weld County voters will be the ones to determine the outcome, however, are they the only ones who make these choices? To put it simply, no. This would have to be approved through the legislature of both Colorado and Wyoming. The issue would then have to go to congress. The citizens of Colorado would also have to have a vote. Colorado doesn’t seem to have any plans to back moving the state line. What will moving the county, and by default the state line, do for Colorado and Wyoming?
“We’re moving a line” – Weld County Wyoming
Moving the line would have an impact on many things such as taxes, social programs, and population of both states. The population of Wyoming would increase by close to fifty percent. This would make Vermont the least populated state. Wyoming, with about 579,000 residents, has long celebrated its standing as the country’s least populated state since the 1990 U.S. Census. Colorado has a population of around 5.7 million. If Weld County joined Wyoming Colorado’s population would drop to around 5.4 million. Local residents of Weld County told Colorado Home Weekly things like “I feel like Erie is very much Colorado and not Wyoming” and the Colorado Government doesn’t seem keen on letting Weld County go. Do you think Weld County should join Wyoming and stay part of Colorado?
Written by: Erinn Malloy