Residents from across the county visited the Floral Hall in Carmi Saturday to hear about an organization called New Illinois, who believes that it’s time to split from Cook County.

In June 2018, concerned individuals came together to form the organization, seeking a 501 nonprofit status. Their stated mission is to educate Illinois citizens about their right to seek to form a new state f according to the procedures established in Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, followed by the West Virginia model. 

Article IV, Section 3 states: “New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.”

“We have a lack of representative government for people outside of Cook County, our state is facing a fiscal disaster and there is the systematic government corruption that has lead us to why we are here”, according to G.H. Merritt. Merritt stated that there has not been a Republican form of government and that the government we have had has oppressed its citizens with crushing debt and they violate their own constitution by failing to have a balanced budget. Merritt continued, “Illinois has been the worst financial state and the state has one of the highest collective tax burdens in the nation, twice the national average. Illinois is over 130 billion in pension debt and 73 billion in retiree healthcare debt.” 

New Illinois wants to see a state created with a government truly representing Illinois’ rural small town and suburban residents. Merritt discussed that this split could succeed, like it did in West Virginia and Vermont. West Virginia split in 1861 to break away from the Confederate state of Virginia, and Vermont split in 1777 from New Hampshire and New York to become its own state. 

One of the goals of New Illinois would be to have a population and an economy that exceeds that of Indiana’s, unfortunately residents of New Illinois would still be bankrupt. 

Merritt concluded with, “We take great inspiration from the solidarity movement in Poland. They had been under Communist rule for years, the people supported the movement and amazingly they were able to free themselves.” 

“Mike Madigan has said, ‘Illinois is better off together’”, said State Representative Darren Bailey. Bailey explained that the government continues to refuse to understand and acknowledge what has been going on for years. He concluded his speech and introduced Ted Dabrowski from Wirepoints. 

Dabrowski described that the pension plans need to be fixed and that they need to be fair to everybody. Him and his business partners have not endorsed with New Illinois, they are just an independent source that wants the truth to be told to Illinois residents. Dabrowski also compared Illinois to Poland by saying, “The economic life of Poland, since the wall came down, Poland has grown. There is no reason why Illinois is not one of the economic powerhouses.”

G.H. Merritt introduced Paul Preston, via Skype, to illustrate how he has made his organization, New California. Preston went over the three phases that New Illinois will have to take in order to achieve their goal: organization of the counties and getting incorporated, making a Declaration of Independence, the third phase is what New California is currently in. New California has been going over their grievances against California, this week they made their 95th grievance. Preston said, “President Trump will be visiting. The grand plan is to get New California up and running and New Illinois up and running and then to Nevada, Orgeon, Washington state and New York. That’s what the President would like to see.”

Questions were presented to Preston from the group. One question centered around the Supreme Court declaring the election of New California unconstitutional for the separation of California. Preston indicated that his plan has been a new plan and that the one the Supreme Court denied was Tim Drapers plan. 

A resident of Enfield, John Fletch asked if Illinois could declare bankruptcy, to which a member of New Illinois explained that it is against the Constitution for a state to declare but a municipality can.

Other visitors had questions for the members of New Illinois that they could not fully answer yet, in the future they should have the answers.