The most recent leader of Oregon’s State of Jefferson movement, Bob Chard, endorsed the Greater Idaho movement today. He said that it might have a better chance of success than movements that attempt to create a new state out of Oregon. Both plans would require the approval of the Oregon Legislature, but only creating a new state would add two Republicans to the US Senate. Chard agreed the Legislature is more likely to approve the Greater Idaho plan because that would not affect the US Senate.
Chard had been the main volunteer for the State of Jefferson movement in Oregon since he revived the movement in 2015. He gathered thousands of signatures at county fairs around southern and eastern Oregon. However, he decided to cease his efforts when he understood that California state legislators and judges had completely ignored California’s state of Jefferson movement, where more progress had been made. He said that without a path to success, the movement in Oregon is now at an impasse. No one has taken his place at the helm of the movement.
The State of Jefferson movements seek to create a new state out of the territory of California and/or Oregon. The two primary leaders in California’s State of Jefferson movement (SOJ51) are Mark Baird and Terry Rapoza.
Baird, when asked about the Greater Idaho movement in 2020, told SFGATE “If this turns out to be the shortest route to liberty and representation, I’ll give it a go,” and Terry Rapoza echoed that sentiment in a phone call to Greater Idaho movement leadership in 2021. The State of Jefferson movement won an election in Tehama County and was supported by the boards of five other California counties by 2016, but has not made progress since then, besides accumulating signatures and court filings.
“I don’t want rural Oregonians to have a false hope that they can get exactly what they want,” said Mike McCarter, leader of the Greater Idaho movement.
Chard, a resident of Josephine County, said “Our best chance for better governance in Oregon is to ask our state legislators in Salem to move the Oregon/Idaho border. But nationwide, the best outcome would be to override former Chief Justice Earl Warren’s opinion in Reynolds vs. Simms (1964). That’s the decision that violated the right of a state to have a republican form of government, guaranteed by Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution. Until Oregon reacted to that decision, the Oregon Constitution solved the rural/urban divide by requiring one state senator per county, but now it’s unlikely that the Oregon Legislature would ever amend the constitution to require that again.”
Updated maps for the movement are here: www.greateridaho.org/the-maps