Group Preparing to Declare Independence from Illinois

Group Preparing to Declare Independence from Illinois

A group is preparing to declare its independence from Illinois. They said the residents are growing frustrated because they feel they aren’t being properly represented at the Illinois statehouse. New Illinois, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group is planning to declare independence from Illinois from the steps of Hancock County on Saturday.

G.H. Merritt is the chairman of New Illinois. He said, “We have a lot of support from the red side, you know the libertarians and the Republicans, but I really believe that’s mostly because those are the people that live in the area that doesn’t have a voice.” She said they will be lobbying with state lawmakers after Saturday’s declaration to get them on board.

State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago is open to talk to the group members but is downplaying the group’s chances of achieving their goals. Ford said, “I think with a county and a community down there trying to declare independence is just their right to do it but I think that’s what you call cutting your nose off to spite your face.”

New Illinois has a strong backing behind them. 20 counties have ratified the resolutions supporting the effort. The group’s goal is to get all the counties on board except Cook. Southern Illinoisans aren’t the only frustrated residents. Merritt said Chicago’s politics is controlling the rest of the state and is not represented well.

“Up in Lake County, people are exiting the state, people are complaining about the state, people are supporting our movement, and it’s not because anybody’s all worked up about all of their money going to Alexander County, it’s because of the corruption, it’s because of the taxes.” Corruption has engraved itself with Illinois. Recent bribery charges against lawmakers and federal investigations are growing in numbers.

Staff writer for the Chicago Morning Star

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