Murmurs of Eastern Panhandle Wanting to Secede from W.Va.

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

UPDATE 1/25/11
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - Republican Delegate Larry Kump says he knows his suggestion that the Eastern Panhandle secede from West Virginia will likely fail.

But Kump says he's achieved his goal - getting people to think about the state's economic challenges.

Kump sponsored a bill last week to let Berkeley, Morgan and Jefferson counties vote to rejoin Virginia.

He told The Journal of Martinsburg that most of the 300 e-mails he got about the idea were positive. But residents interviewed by the newspaper on Monday generally opposed the idea.

Kump says he wanted to get people thinking about why West Virginia's economy isn't as strong as some of its neighbors.

He says he's been criticized for disloyalty, but he wants things fixed because he's a "true blue" West Virginian.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- An Eastern Panhandle lawmaker wants voters in his region to weigh in on whether to secede from West Virginia.

Freshman Delegate Larry Kump introduced legislation Friday that would set a nonbinding referendum in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties. It would ask voters whether they want to become part of neighboring Virginia.

The Berkeley County Republican cited West Virginia's poor showing in economic rankings. He blamed the state's government as overly centralized and oppressive to prosperity.

The proposal's critics include Morgan County Commission President Stacy Dugan. The Democrat said Eastern Panhandle residents are true-blue West Virginians.

Delegate John Doyle, a Jefferson County Democrat, called the bill worse than nonsense.

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