Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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Mitchell & Brown call for separation of Cook County from rest of Illinois

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[November 22, 2011]  DECATUR -- Fed up with Chicago's domination of Illinois state politics, two central Illinois lawmakers are calling for the separation of Cook County and the other 101 counties in Illinois into two separate states.

State Reps. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, and Adam Brown, R-Decatur, have introduced a House joint resolution that seeks to separate Cook County from the rest of Illinois and authorizes a statewide referendum on the issue.

"When I talk to constituents, one of the biggest things I hear is, 'Chicago should be its own state,'" said Mitchell. "Downstate families are tired of Chicago dictating its views to the rest of us. You only have to look at the election results from last year's governor's race to see the problem. Cook County carried Pat Quinn, while almost every downstate county supported Bill Brady. Our voters' voices were drowned out by Chicago,"

Illinois state government is almost entirely controlled by Chicago Democrats. Gov. Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are all from Chicago, as are Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has ruled the Illinois House for more than two decades.

Brown believes Chicago's domination of state government has hurt downstate families.

"Our downstate values are being overshadowed by Chicago's influence over the legislative process," Brown said. "The 2010 election swept a number of downstate Republicans into office, but the lame-duck Democrats passed a 67 percent income tax increase, along with civil unions and the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois. These liberal policies are an insult to the traditional values of downstate families.

"It's the same thing with guns," he added. "Chicago politicians continue to block passage of concealed-carry legislation supported by the overwhelming majority of downstate voters and legislators. It's time to look at a two-state solution. Downstate deserves to have its voice heard."

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The proposed resolution states that Illinois is functional to the extent that its people agree on politics, society and economics. The people who constitute a majority of Cook County and the people who constitute a majority of the other 101 counties in Illinois hold different and firmly seated views on these important questions. Cook County and the other 101 counties are roughly equal in population, and both groups should enjoy the chance to govern themselves with their firmly seated values.

The resolution seeks to separate Cook County and the rest of Illinois into two separate states and authorizes a statewide referendum on the issue. Following adoption of the referendum, the General Assembly would urge the U.S. Congress to pass a bill that consents to the division of Cook County and the other 101 counties of Illinois into two separate states.

Mitchell indicated that Cook County, with a population of over 5 million, is larger than many states.

"There are 29 states with a population smaller than Cook County," Mitchell said. "There is no reason why Cook County cannot become its own state. Chicago can run its own affairs and leave the rest of Illinois to govern itself, based upon our shared downstate values."

[Text from file received from Rep. Bill Mitchell]

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