Should Washington split into two states?
YAKIMA, WASH. - Should Eastern and Western Washington split up? The answer for some locals here in Eastern Washington is yes, and they've been pushing for it for years and want to call the new state, Liberty.
"With some of the actions that have been taken by downtown Seattle as of late, the choice has become more stark for people in Eastern Washington and I would specifically say rural Washington," said Washington State Representative Mathew Shea from the Spokane Valley District.
Shea pushed a bill two years ago asking congress to vote on this.
Making an entirely new state isn't easy. First the state legislature would have to approve the idea, then the U.S. house and senate in Washington D.C.
"People can be better represented in their values, traditions, heritage, and culture at the local level, and this tool was to split the states so that you can have that type of representation," said Shea.
Many locals say splitting the states could hurt people here on the east side because they say Seattle is a big part of Washington's profits.
"I think we need a find a way to where both sides of the state can work together to create ballots that aren't necessarily ruled by one side or the other," said local Trevor Schell.
While other's say, each side is drastically different, and votes on the Eastern side aren't being taken into consideration.
"We've got as many people in Seattle as we have in this half of the stay. So yeah our votes don't count," said Rikki Pomerenke, a Liberty State supporter.
Liberty State supporters argue the west side is leaning towards a socialist society, and Eastern Washington is a much more agriculture driven and conservative community.
"Eastern Washington grows just in agriculture. The amount of money, what place we hold, that more than supports our half of our state if we could keep it and not send it over there for them to continue building roads," said Pomerenke.
There are some people who tell Action News the State just isn't big enough to split.
"Of course not! I'm from Texas you know? So I feel like if anybody should have their different states, it should be Texas," said local Vincent Johnson.
Representative Shea says issues on gun rights, the new Head Tax targeted at big businesses in Seattle, and other political views are leading many in Eastern Washington wanting to split. He says their frustration isn't one sided.
"By the same token, downtown Seattle doesn't feel represented as well. Therefore they would be better represented in their ideas just like we would too," said Shea.