The leader of a plan to form 11 northern Colorado counties into a new state came to southern Colorado seeking support.
Jeffrey Hare of the 51st State Initiative made a presentation Thursday to a quorum of El Paso County commissioners at Centennial Hall in downtown Colorado Springs.
"We're asking (them) to consider adopting or passing a resolution that supports being part of the process and the discussion," he said.
The movement seeks to form a new state, New Colorado, from counties that are dissatisfied with state and federal government. Hare said the new state would maintain a balance between conservative and progressive politics, and between urban and rural areas.
Avoiding federal commitments, limiting state government and expanding local government are other principles of the proposed new state. The 11 involved counties will vote next month on whether to pursue the idea.
Hare emphasized that the proposed movement doesn't intend for the counties to secede from the Union as Southern states did prior to the Civil War. He said the counties would form a news state that remains part of the Union.
Commissioners Daryl Glenn, Peggy Littleton and Sallie Clark said they like the idea behind a new state and the reasons for it, but aren't ready to officially support it yet.
"As things are put together, more solidified and well-defined, then we can potentially look at the opportunity to (consider) it," Littleton said.
"I'm just not sure that I'm ready to leave the state to trade one problem for another," said Clark.
Greg Olinyk of Colorado Springs is one of around a dozen citizens who attended the presentation.
"It could make sense," he said of the possibility of the new state. "I'd like to see it happen because I'd like to see government off the backs of the American public."
Hare said Pueblo County is the only Colorado County so far to decline to hear the presentation.
If a majority of voters in the 11 involved counties approve the referendums next month, Hare says his goal is to have the Legislature adopt a constitutional amendment and place it on the ballot for public vote in November 2014.
For more information about the proposed new state, visit http://www.51ststate.org/tp50/Default.asp?ID=314893