HB 1239: Give us ‘Liberty’ or … stay united?

Representatives Mike Steele and Keith Goehner. Gary Bégin/NCW Media

Senator Brad Hawkins

OLYMPIA – Representative Rob Chase (R-Spokane) has introduced a bill for the future of Washington state and America, that his former colleague Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane Valley has wanted for years – establishing the state of Liberty from all of Eastern Washington.

Establishing the new state of Liberty — House Bill 1239
Introduced by Rep. Rob Chase (Spokane) (R) on January 18, 2021.
The Bill states in Section 1,“A separate and independent state is established from the eastern portions of Washington. The new state is named and known as the state of Liberty. The western boundary of  Liberty follows the crest of the Cascade mountains and the western borders of Okanogan, Chelan, Kittitas, Yakima, and Klickitat counties. The eastern, northern, and southern borders of Liberty are the existing state borders.”
State Senator Brad Hawkins (R-East Wenatchee), replying exclusively to an interview from NCW Media, stated, “I would be very surprised if the House of Representatives, given its Democratic majority, will give this bill much consideration, but it would sure be an interesting discussion. Since I serve in the Senate and there are sometimes thousands of bills being considered each year, I probably won’t be able to study up on this one unless it advances to the Senate for consideration.”
Hawkins continued, “While I know that people in eastern and central Washington would prefer to work separately with ‘like-minded’ people and I’d welcome an eastern Washington governor, this wouldn’t be without some logistical challenges. I do have questions myself about how this idea could actually be implemented. There is a large, rural geographic footprint in eastern and central Washington requiring significant state investments for transportation, wildfire suppression, higher education, and other things.”
Hawkins said, “While we may disagree with the political philosophies of many people in western Washington, that area of the state is an economic driver for us over here. Maybe we could live without them and their progressive policies, but we’d also have to live without the economic benefits of Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, and Microsoft.”
Hawkins cites “high needs” of rural Washington, “The schools and social system on our half of the state usually have high needs as well, given the large proportion of free-and-reduced lunch students and lower economic status. So we’d have a huge service territory with lots of federal lands and a relatively low tax base, but that’s not to say a separate state couldn’t be successful. The public hearing on the bill would get lots of attention, and it would be interesting to hear the testimony on both sides.”
State Representative Mike Steele (R-Chelan) did not wish to comment on the issue, until and if, it reaches his desk. State Representative Keith Goehner (R-Dryden) said, “Although there is great frustration by many with legislation that is driven by urban Puget Sound legislators, forming a new state does not guarantee that there will not be conflicting views represented in the political process.  Rural Western Washington is impacted similarly to Eastern Washington and it is important for us to continue to present our ideas and principles in a way that resonates and affects the change we want to see. Washington has many diverse contributors and it is critical for us to work in a collaborative manner to make our State more prosperous.”
Managing Editor Gary Bégin can be reached via email: Gary@ncwmedia.net. Comments may be used as Letters to the Editor. 

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