13th Oregon county secures approval to ditch Democrat-compromised state to join Idaho

The “Greater Idaho” movement continues to gain steam, promising to liberate conservative counties east of the Deschutes River from the
ruinous policies and Democratic control all but ensured by residents in the more populous leftist areas nearer the coast, such as Mayor Ted Wheeler’s crime-ravaged Portland.

On Tuesday, Crook County voters were presented with
ballot measure 7-86, which asked: “Should Crook County represent that its citizens support efforts to move the Idaho state border to include Crook County?”

The majority signaled their support for moving the state border westward and joining their conservative compatriots in the Gem State.

The arguments

Those opposed to the measure unsuccessfully argued against 7-86 in the State Voters’ Pamphlet that joining Idaho was problematic because:

  • Idaho, unlike Oregon, is pro-life;
  • Idaho, unlike Oregon, has a sales tax and a lower minimum wage;
  • Idaho is not as fast and loose when it comes to voter registration;
  • “Idaho does not allow Video Poker Machines in retail establishments”;
  • Moving the border might undercut Oregon’s recreational drug sales;
  • “Idaho has no state sponsored healthcare plan for low-income residents”; and
  • Newly minted Idaho residents will have to pay “out of state fees” for hunting, fishing, and camping activities on the Oregon coast.

A loss of voters might also mean Oregon could lose representatives in Congress.

Citizens for Greater Idaho president Mike McCarter, a firearms instructor from the town of LaPine, alternatively argued, “There is a way to get better governance for central and eastern Oregon. The current location of the Oregon/Idaho border was decided 165 years ago and is now outdated because it doesn’t match the location of the dividing line between the counties that prefer Idaho’s style of governance and counties that prefer Oregon’s style of governance.”

McCarter further noted the residents of Crook County would receive better representation in Idaho, where the state legislature “is controlled by representatives from rural districts, who govern according to the concerns and priorities of rural counties.”

McCarter, whose organization has elsewhere
suggested that “only 25% of Oregonians who are registered to vote are registered Republican,” stressed that the alternative would be to continue living under the thumb of Oregon politicians who “don’t understand how we make a living. Their decisions damage industries like timber, mining, trucking, ranching and farming.”

‘When you go to seek redress and your government doesn’t listen to you, where do you turn?’

Idaho state Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R) recently
told CNN, “Constitutionally, people should have the opportunity to seek redress from their government.”

“When you go to seek redress and your government doesn’t listen to you, where do you turn?” she continued. “These people were seeking redress from the next best thing, which would be us.”

Greater Idaho executive director Matt McCaw similarly suggested in the voters pamphlet, “The right to choose our own government is a foundational principle of the United States. It’s why we hold votes for government office, redistrict every ten years, and have an initiative system that allows voters to refer issues directly to the ballot. The goal of all of these systems is to get government that people actually want and that matches their values.”

“East-side Oregonians have little voice in their own state government, even less political power, and get a steady barrage of policies forced on us that we don’t want and don’t reflect our community or values,” added McCaw.

Evidently, 53.44% of Crook County voters cared more about regaining a political say over their fates than abortion rights, automatic voter registration, sales tax, and slot machines, saying
“yes” to ballot measure 7-86. The votes will not be certified until June.

The response

“The voters of eastern Oregon have spoken loudly and clearly about their desire to see border talks move forward,” McCaw
said in a statement. “We call on the governor, speaker of the House, and Senate president to sit down with us and discuss next steps towards changing governance for eastern Oregonians, as well as for the legislature to begin holding hearings on what a potential border change will look like.”

“What they’re telling us through these votes is that they want their leaders to move the border. In our system, the people are the ones in charge, and it’s time for the leaders representing them to follow through,” said McCarter.

Greater Idaho suggested that the “yes” vote would likely have been more substantial were it not for the opposition campaign bankrolled by Portland groups.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little indicated in 2020 — as the first of the eastern Oregon counties began to vote in favor of leaving Oregon to its troubles — that he liked the idea of a “Greater Idaho.”

Little
told “Fox & Friends” that he understood “what takes place in the Portland area has a big impact on those rural parts of Oregon, and I understand they’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our regulatory atmosphere, our values. That doesn’t surprise me one bit.”

Little noted, however, there would be various legal “hurdles” prospective western Idahoans would have to clear first. The U.S. Congress and both the Oregon and Idaho state legislatures would have to approve the border shift.

KOIN-TV
noted that the Idaho legislature passed a measure last year to begin conversations with Oregon lawmakers about the initiative.

Ahead of the talks, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) quipped, “I would entertain a trade for Boise and Sun Valley.”

Extra to Crook County, the following counties have reportedly passed measures in favor of joining Idaho: Sherman; Morrow; Union; Wallowa; Jefferson; Wheeler; Grant; Baker; Malheur; Harney; Lake; and Klamath.

While there has long been an interest in moving the border, Democrat-championed COVID restrictions
reportedly helped provide the movement with the traction it needed to get where it is today.

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