The Idaho House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday to initiate discussions with the Oregon Legislature regarding the potential expansion of Idaho’s border into eastern Oregon. The resolution was driven by the Greater Idaho movement, which aims to absorb 11 Oregon counties, amounting to 63% of the state’s landmass, into Idaho.
The primary rationale behind the proposal is that the leftist residents of ultra-liberal northwest Oregon cities such as Portland, Salem, and Eugene control the remainder of the state’s politics, silencing rural and conservative residents in eastern and southern Oregon on all political issues.
The Idaho House passed the “Greater Idaho” bill todayhttps://t.co/NQTrHIpbEN
— the Greater Idaho movement (@GreaterIdaho) February 15, 2023
The Idaho state House voted 41-28 to approve the bill, titled HJM1, in support of the Greater Idaho movement. The move is a direct call to action that will enable Idaho legislators to initiate discussions on the matter with their Oregon counterparts. Before last week’s vote, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee received testimony on Monday.
The bill will now move on to the Idaho Senate.
Under the plan, Idaho would expand to include rural Oregon, with 11 Oregon counties having already signed a petition supporting the proposal. Next, however, Oregon lawmakers must approve the plan before it is sent to the U.S. Congress, where federal lawmakers would decide whether or not to authorize the expansion.
Mike McCarter, President of Citizens for Greater Idaho, wrote recently that the aspirations of northwestern Oregon voters are driving the state government in a direction incompatible with the values and livelihoods of his town and many others in eastern and southern Oregon. He argues that rural, conservative Oregonians would feel better represented in the Idaho legislature, which is overwhelmingly Republican.
Idaho state Rep. Judy Boyle (R) favors the expansion to curb drugs flowing into her state. Boyle represents a border district, and with Oregon moving to decriminalize most drugs, there has been an increase in drug trafficking in the region. She said she voted to extend her state’s border to “get those drugs away from us.”
Not all Idaho lawmakers, however, support the expansion. “We should not be self-segregating by ideology like this,” House Minority Leader state Rep. Ilana Rubel (D) told local reporters.
The Democrat added: “I think we’re on a path to civil war if we keep going down this path. We have got to learn to get along better and work together better. The answer cannot be to carve up the country and redraw lines that have been in place for a century or more, just so we can only be surrounded by people that perfectly agree with us.”
If the proposal is ultimately successful, Oregon will lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and one electoral vote for U.S. president due to the resulting population shift. That loss of even a marginal amount of raw political power is virtually certain to lead the Democratic Party to oppose the plan vigorously on a local and national level.