Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not stand behind a secession petition filed with the White House by a Lone Star State resident in the aftermath of the presidential election.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the Republican governor's press secretary, Catherine Frazier, said in an email that Perry "believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it." She added, "But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government. Now more than ever our country needs strong leadership from states like Texas, that are making tough decisions to live within their means, keep taxes low and provide opportunities to job creators so their citizens can provide for their families and prosper."
Several years ago, however, Perry declined to rule out the possibility that Texas could secede from the United States if significant changes weren't made to the nation's economic policies.
"There's a lot of different scenarios," he said at a Tea Party rally in 2009, CNN reported at the time. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
The Texas governor raised eyebrows when he said, "When we came into the nation in 1845, we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation," adding, "And one of the deals was, we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again."
Last year, Perry sought to clarify his position on the issue during an interview on Fox News. He pointed out that he "never used" the term "secession" in discussing the matter and said that he had "no idea" why anyone would suggest otherwise.
Residents in more than 25 states have filed secession petitions -- like the one from Micah H. (no last name provided) of Arlington, Texas -- in recent days. Petitions require at least 25,000 signatures in a 30 day period to qualify for review. The White House website explains: "If a petition meets the signature threshold, it will be reviewed by the Administration and we will issue a response."
The petition filed by Micah H. had received more than 50,000 signatures as of late Monday night. It reads:
The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it's citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.
Left-leaning Arizonans attempted to get a measure on the ballot in 2011 that would create a new bastion for liberals in the state. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the measure would have given voters a choice to decide whether to chip off Pima County from the rest of Arizona, creating another state: Baja Arizona. It's an idea that's long been discussed, but The Tucson Sentinel reports that the most recent action was spurred by a desire for greater control over local issues and discontent with proceedings at the Phoenix statehouse. "Every bill we've heard about here is either anti-abortion laws or anti-Mexican laws. These are not laws that are geared toward solving the real problems that we have," David Euchner, treasurer of Start Our State, the group behind the secession push, told the Arizona Daily Star.
Republican Maine State Rep. Henry Joy brought forth legislation in 2010 to divide northern and southern Maine into two autonomous states. According to Joy, the move was necessary because of a proposal that would have turned millions of acres of northern woodland into a nature preserve, leading to the forced relocation of residents in the area. While that measure never passed, Joy was apparently not keen on the prospect of being removed from his home turf. Joy's bill, which eventually failed, would have allowed the northern portion of the state to retain the name Maine, while the southern section would have been ordained Northern Massachusetts. Joy proposed similar legislation in 2005, which also failed.
Democratic Utah State Rep. Neal Hendrickson submitted legislation in 2008 for the creation of a new state within Utah. Hendrickson contended that "citizens in the more populated areas of northern Utah have many interests that stand in stark contrast to the interests of southern rural areas of the state, which feel they do not have the influence on state policymaking that citizens along the Wasatch Front enjoy." His bill, which he said would "provide the citizens of what is presently southern Utah increased access to their state government," didn't pass.
When Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed onto a non-binding resolution claiming constitutional overreach of the federal government in 2009, some may have thought it was simply a symbolic display meant to show solidarity with a right-wing base disgruntled after the passage of President Barack Obama's stimulus package. A day later, however, Perry took his rhetoric to another level, implying that Texas might secede if "Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people," by strapping his state with unsustainable taxation, spending and debt.
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), a Republican primary candidate for governor, piggy-backed off Texas Gov. Rick Perry's secession comments last year, telling Hotline on Call in a discussion about federal mandates in the health care law that states such as Tennessee might be "forced to consider separation from this government" depending on the outcome of the elections. Wamp eventually lost the gubernatorial primary to Knoxville mayor and eventual winner Bill Haslam.
In 1998, Republican Maryland State Sen. Richard Colburn filed a bill that would have paved the way for the Eastern Shore of his state, as well as parts of Delaware and Virginia, to branch off into a separate entity called Delmarva. Upset with regulations being forged in Annapolis and passed down to the Eastern Shore, Colburn encouraged Maryland's coastal residents to work toward a referendum that could get the measure on the ballot. It never passed muster.
Lawmakers across New York have long floated secession as a potential way to rectify what they see as imbalances in the burdens of taxes and other economic factors. From local proposals to split New York City off into its own state, to pushes to turn upstate New York or Long Island into their own sovereign entities, all efforts at secession have failed.
The tiny Rhode Island enclave of Block Island made a stir in the 1980s when its residents pursued secession after being invaded by a population of moped-riding mainlanders. The state senate and supreme court initially refused to allow the island's governing body to regulate the offending mopeds, which resulted in a successful vote to declare independence from the rest of Rhode Island. Massachusetts and Connecticut reportedly reached out during the process in the interest of annexing the island. Weeks later, the Rhode Island legislature approved a bill giving Block Island regulatory control over mopeds on the island, which sufficiently appeased residents.
Republican West Virginia Delegate Larry Kump floated a proposal earlier this year to let a number of his state's panhandle counties secede and rejoin Virginia. Citing economic concerns, Kump said his longshot legislation was an attempt to alleviate pressure brought on by the state's struggling manufacturing sector. It failed to gain support both among West Virginians and state legislators.