Longmont Meeting Participants Support 51st State
More than 50 turned out for the second of four public meetings focusing on whether Weld County should band together with Eastern Colorado counties and form a 51st state.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions—water rights—some of these are serious. We don’t have those answers here today because we don’t want to start that whole process if we’re told by our residents not to go forward,” said Weld County Commissioner Doug Rademacher.
The four county Commissioners at the meeting stressed that they wanted to hear from citizens—who at the meeting were largely in favor of the idea.
“There is an absolute disconnect, it’s absolutely a problem and I believe voters should decide,” said Christopher Lewis, a gunsmith from Johnstown.
Commissioners are trying to determine whether to put the issue on the ballot in front of voters this fall. It’s something that Cheyenne County commissioners east of Colorado Springs have already decided to do this November.
“I think it has a lot of traction in my county,” said Cheyenne County Commissioner Rod Pelton, who drove from southern Colorado for the meeting.
Despite the overwhelming support, there were many practical questions that county commissioners simply didn’t have the answers to.
“I think everyone’s so excited they’re not thinking down the road. That’s what concerns me. If this just becomes another state, what’s the point of doing all this to repeat the same steps?” said Firestone resident John Hedges.
Weld Commissioner Sean Conway said one goal of the 51st state would be to apply the same debt-free economic model that Weld County has to a new state.
“This isn’t about just creating another 51st state to create a 51st state. It’s about emulating a successful business model that has worked in this county for three decades,” said Conway. “We live it, breathe it, eat it every single day.”
Conway said that Weld County is in the process of establishing a financial analysis of how the 51st state would work.
Multiple people at the meeting asked exactly which counties would be in the 51st state. Commissioners said they’re still working to compile a list, but said they’ve heard from multiple eastern Colorado counties, government leaders in western Kansas and Nebraska.
Commissioners will host two additional public meetings:
- July 30. Evans Recreation Center, Cottonwood Room, 1100 37th Street, Evans
- July 31 - Ault Fire Department, 16680 Highway 14, Ault