Group calls for western Maryland counties to secede

WESTMINSTER, Md. -  An effort is underway by a group with hopes of getting five western Maryland counties to secede and form their own state.

 Carroll County resident Scott Strzelczyk, leader of the "Western Maryland Initiative," says people are fed up with the liberal majority and want an "amicable divorce."

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The five counties – Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll – represent just 11 percent of Maryland's population, but the majority of their registered voters are Republicans in a heavily Democratic state.

The organization established a Facebook page and as of 2 p.m. Monday had more than 2,300 likes.
The page offered the following description about their initiative:

"We, the people of Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll County intend to separate from the State of Maryland and form the new state of Western Maryland. We intend to exercise our right of self-determination and self-governance to better secure our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Annapolis has repeatedly injured us and abridged or denied our fundamental rights and violated numerous articles in the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Our pleas for redress of grievances to the General Assembly and the Governor are ignored or rebuffed."

The U.S. Constitution allows regions to separate with approval from the state legislature and Congress. There are similar efforts around the country and there was one the Eastern Shore in the 1970s in a bid to keep tourism money. West Virginia is the last state to successfully break away from another -- 150 years ago.

*The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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