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Walla Walla County commissioners to discuss Liberty State proposal

  • Updated
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Liberty flag

The proposed flag of Liberty.

This story has been modified since its original publication to reflect a correction.

The creation of a 51st state will be part of a discussion Monday of the Walla Walla County commissioners.

Proponents of a plan to separate Eastern Washington from Western Washington and create a new Liberty State asked commissioners last week to consider adding an advisory vote to the fall ballot.

The concept was also propsed to Columbia County commissioners, who ultimately opted not to add it to the ballot.

The discussion is included on the budget for the Walla Walla County commissioners Monday.

The discussion is included on the active agenda for the meeting that starts at 10 a.m. Commissioner meetings are held via phone and web. The public can attend by calling 1-408-418-9388, using access code 146 784 0290. Web access is available at ubne.ws/3frSuJa.

Liberty representative Danette Bolyard pitched the idea to commissioners as a way to gauge interest from the public.

Commissioner Greg Tompkins said at the time the board “will take it under advisement.”

The Liberty State Movement “is an effort to create a new state from Washington State based upon political and geographic lines,” according to a letter from the group’s leaders, including President Jim Robinson.

Political and economic reasons were provided as reasoning for the move.

“Since the formation of Washington State in 1889, people of the eastern and rural parts of Washington State have felt separate from the western capitol in Olympia,” the letter stated. “As our economies and beliefs grew in separate directions, the chasm has deepened and left Western Washington holding all of the political representation, with little regard or accountability to eastern residents…”

The letter compared Liberty to Idaho and said the proposed state would produce a similar amount of tax revenue and operating budget. A budget comparison estimated Eastern Washington had about $10 billion in revenue in 2018, while Idaho had about $9.5 billion, both included federal money given to the states. The estimated expenditures were $9.8 billion for Eastern Washington and $7.9 billion for Idaho.

Emily Thornton can be reached at emilythornton@wwub.com or 509-526-8325.

Emily Thornton covers courts and emergency services, as well as other various stories. She has been in the newspaper industry off and on since roughly 1999 and lived primarily on the West Coast, but also Florida and Europe.