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Experts explain how Maryland counties seceding could happen and the impact

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Three Maryland counties are calling to secede from their own state are hoping to find a new home in West Virginia.

The announcement has many asking, is this even possible?

Lawmakers from Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties sent letters to the West Virginia legislature stating, “We believe this arrangement may be mutually beneficial for both parties.”

Delegate Gary Howell from Mineral County says there are advantages to both states.

“For Maryland, these counties are their poorer counties and they actually send more money from Annapolis than Annapolis gets from them so they are a drain on Maryland resources. In west Virginia, it would be the exact opposite, it would benefit us,” said Howell.

But how does a proposal like this become official?

Chair of the political science department at wvu dr. John kilwein says the constitution requires both states to agree - something he says would be very unlikely.

“All states are historic but it’s a very historic state and so you’d be chopping off a bit of [maryland] at the end and you know there’s just that sense of geographic pride,” said Dr. Kilwein.

Howell says the three counties are very similar to West Virginia though.

“In fact, they’re actually more typical west Virginia counties than they are Maryland counties, so they’d fit in with us,” said Howell.

While West Virginia may be looking to reclaim the congressional seat it lost in the recent census, Kilwein says the same issue could be the very reason the move would fail.

“That’s probably why Annapolis would never agree to it because they’d probably lose a district,” said Dr. Kilwein.

The governor called for a special session in mid-November to make the offer official.

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