From left, County Commissioner Tom Mathers, John Kinkaid and Chuck Grobe

File photo

From left, County Commissioner Tom Mathers, John Kinkaid and Chuck Grobe

Moffat County commissioners consider placing secession issue on ballot


— Moffat County could be moving toward secession from Colorado under the 51st State Initiative.

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid announced his intention Tuesday to write the ballot language that would ask local voters whether they want to join the secession movement.

“It’s up to people like us to make a statement that we’re not happy, and we want to go in a different direction,” Kinkaid said during Tuesday’s commission meeting.

County Commissioner Tom Mathers agreed.

“It’d be better if the Front Range just left Colorado,” Mathers said. “If we had a governor that was actually a governor and not a mayor of Denver — of the Front Range — then this secession wouldn’t be happening.”

Frank Moe, who is running for Mathers' soon-to-be-open seat, said Moffat County has been neglected by the Democrat-dominated state Legislature.

“The state left us,” he said, “not the other way around.”

The 51st State Initiative made headlines when five counties in eastern Colorado approved putting the question of secession to voters.

“The goal is to form a 51st state,” said Jeffrey Hare, executive director of the 51st State Initiative. “The net result would be a state that better reflects the values of those outside the Denver/Boulder corridor.”

Kinkaid said Moffat County, under the referendum, would either join up with the 51st state or maybe become part of Wyoming.

“It’s not just making a statement but initiating a process to change the way decisions are being made that affect the entire state,” he said.

Another solution, he said, would be to give each county its own state senator.

“It would be a stretch to give each county a senator, but it would be a compromise,” Kinkaid said.

City Councilman Tony Bohrer said the idea of secession is good on paper but might not translate well in the real world. But, he said, it would be valuable to start a dialogue.

“Discussion is always good,” he said.

Bohrer said he understands why some Colorado counties are pursuing the idea of secession.

“Our values and big-city values — our ways of life — are different,” he said. “Would I be for it, though? I don’t know.”

To resolve a disconnect between rural Colorado and the city centers, Bohrer said more people from different backgrounds need to be part of the political process.

“The minority usually speaks louder than the majority,” he said. “Somehow, you’d need people to get involved in the conversations.”

Kinkaid said the passage of Senate Bill 252 and gun regulations made rural Coloradans feel disenfranchised.

“This last legislative session over in Denver was so detrimental to the entire rural portion of Colorado. It was a bridge too far for a lot of rural counties,” he said. “People want the feeling that their voices are heard. This is part of that effort to say, ‘Hey, we’re a part of Colorado.’”

Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or


Ray Cartwright 3 years, 8 months ago

All this talk about the 51st state makes me wonder as to how we would finance such a thing, Maybe Tom or John would like to explain the thinking and where we would be going?


Nadja Rider 3 years, 8 months ago

Putting secession before a vote is a good idea. Even if it doesn't happen, it sends a message to the eastern slope that the rest of the state is unhappy. Ray, our money already leaves the county and helps fund the populated city areas - and that includes their roads, schools, etc. If the north eastern corner of Colorado and other counties seceded as one entity, I'm sure we would do just fine financially.


Jason Phillips 3 years, 8 months ago

These are typical GOP tactics - when you don't get your way, take your ball and go home. The laughable part to me is that republicans have only been in the minority in Colorado for what amounts to the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things - and the second things start to go against them they want to secede from the state? Maybe these elected officials should do a better job affecting legislation. On the other hand, I kind of like the idea of taking your antiquated ideals elsewhere. They wouldn't be missed over here on the front range.


William Ronis 3 years, 8 months ago

The county Commissioners are acting very much like adolescents. They don't like the way things are going at home, so they want to run away. Instead of being part of the problem, they should be part of the solution. They want to become part of Wyoming because of the size of a gun magazine? I am appalled at the ideas of the commissioners and of the idea that they run our county. I literally felt sick to my stomach when I saw Wednesday's paper!


Nadja Rider 3 years, 8 months ago

Jason, if we won't be missed then I don't understand your objection to secession. I strongly believe that government should represent the majority, especially on a local level. Hickenlooper and our current liberal legislature do not represent my beliefs - nor do I believe they represent the majority of rural Colorado.

Bill you know very well it's not just about firearm magazines. Our current legislature has literally been on a "legislative orgy" passing new laws.

Putting secession on the ballot is an excellent way to find out how the county residents truly feel. There is no law that says we have to quietly stand by and allow our government local or otherwise to run roughshod over us. It's our duty to speak up and do something about it if we don't agree. The biggest problem in our country right now is the apathy in how our country is being run. It's a disgrace.


Jason Phillips 3 years, 8 months ago

Nadja, I don't really object to a secession... I'm just pointing out the childish nature of the idea. Republicans controlled the state basically from 1968-2004, and now that the tables have turned they want to start their own state? Good luck with that.


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