WILLOWS, Calif. - The Glenn County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday morning to declare their intent to secede from the State of California, joining two other Northern California counties in support of creating a State of Jefferson.
County Supervisor and Vice Chair Steve Soeth is the man spearheading the movement in the rural county.
A place of big orchards and big farm machinery, not big cities, Soethe says Glenn County has lost its voice.
"People are tired of not being represented by their state legislature," he says. "And that's really the biggest thing, I think, I know for me, and I think my fellow board members."
According to Soeth, a major problem is how state senators are chosen. A Supreme Court ruling in the 1960s says that representatives must come from equal population bases, so urban cities and counties have legislators.
About 400 supporters attended town hall meeting held by Glenn County supervisors in Orland and Willows over the last few weeks, encouraging Tuesday's decision.
Glenn County is the first county that doesn't share a border with Oregon to join the State of Jefferson movement. Siskiyou and Modoc counties both did so in September 2013.
Soeth says they'll need 10 to 15 counties that share borders with each other to really get the ball rolling, including some of Northern California's more populated areas.
He says they'll be especially hard pressed without the cooperation of Shasta or Butte counties.
"Well it would be hard because to do it they have to be contiguous," Soeth says. "I mean, you can't have little islands out there, so, yeah, we need folks on board."
Questions about what the state would look like and what its economy would consist of would become clearer once they get the number of counties they think is necessary.
Conceivably, the new state would consist of a population of about 1 million people.
Town hall meetings around the Northstate on the subject of secession have drawn hundreds of supporters, including one in Red Bluff last Monday and another in Anderson on Saturday.
And Soeth says it'll take a grass roots effort to make the State of Jefferson a reality.
"Get a hold of your local boards of supervisor," he says, "call your assemblyman and your senators and tell them that you're interested in doing this. Don't fall in that category, 'It's too hard we can't do this.' This country's been built on people doing things that are hard."
You can learn more about the State of Jefferson movement on their website.
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