Legislation Seeks to Break Cook County from Illinois
The states of Maine, Kentucky and West Virginia were formed by breaking off from other states, and now a couple of downstate Illinois House members say Cook County should also break away.
State Reps. Bill Mitchell (R- Forsyth) and Adam Brown (R-Decatur) are sponsoring a House resolution to hold a referendum on making Cook County a separate state from the rest of Illinois.
Mitchell, the bill's chief sponsor, blames Chicago politicians like Gov. Pat Quinn, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and House Speaker Mike Madigan for the state's financial woes. Mitchell said the rest of Illinois would be better off without their influence.
"They're very attentive to city of Chicago needs --- not so attentive to needs in downstate Illinois," Mitchell said. "I've been getting an awful lot of phone calls and emails in support."
Mitchell noted that there is no personal animosity against Chicago in his proposal --- just the idea that it is time that Cook County went its own way. Mitchell said he knows that getting support for his resolution in a legislature dominated by Chicago Democrats will be difficult, but he said it is a battle worth waging.
About 40 percent of Illinois residents live in Cook County, and Mitchell acknowledged that selling his idea to those residents and their political leaders will be difficult. But he said splitting Cook County from the rest of Illinois has grassroots support downstate.
Mitchell said he will be talking to other downstate lawmakers about the idea when the legislature returns to Springfield next week.