A recently introduced resolution, sponsored by state Reps. Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston), Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) and Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), would make Chicago the 51st state, formally separating it from the rest of Illinois.
Halbrook believes that the culture of Illinois and Chicago have grown increasingly different, leading to a need for change.
"In a way, we really do have two different states in Illinois," Halbrook told Chambana Sun. "But I think the point here is less about making Illinois two states and more about pointing out how unfair it is for Chicago to dictate policies to the rest of the state just because the legislative map carves out so many legislative districts in the city."
Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) | http://www.ilga.gov/
Halbrook pointed to the fact that Illinois is the only state in the region that is actually losing population, while the surrounding states are gaining population.
"The far left agenda being enacted by liberal politicians in Chicago is driving this outmigration problem and the rural areas are being hit the hardest," Halbrook said. "I think one of the benefits of potentially carving Illinois into two states would be the ability to finally enact the kind of reforms we need to get the economy going and stop the outmigration trend."
And while there are certainly many pros to the succession of Chicago from Illinois, it would come with its fair share of drawbacks as well.
"Obviously, Chicago is a big driver of the Illinois economy," Halbrook said. "Illinois without Chicago would not have a lot of the financial resources that currently exist. Ultimately we would have two states with two separate legislatures and two separate Constitutions. One state would obviously be more conservative while the other would be far more left-leaning."
Halbrook explained that the intention is not really to divide Illinois as that would never be allowed to happen by the Chicago Democrats in charge of the legislative process.
"The real intent is to expose the unfairness that exists in the legislative process and how one small geographic area is crafting policies that are detrimental to the other areas of our state," Halbrook said. "Chicago legislators want the entire state to have the kind of gun laws that exist in the City of Chicago but those of us in rural areas don’t want these kinds of laws. I hope we can use this Resolution as an opportunity for those of us in rural areas to have our voices heard and to hopefully bring about a more balanced approach to the kind of bills we pass in Springfield."