I am sorry to report that Rep. Matt Shea, the eastern Washington conservative radio host and end-of-days prepper who regularly shares fake news on Facebook, cheered the redneck militia occupation at Malheur Wildlife Refuge, and distributed a document called the "Biblical Basis for War," won his bid for reelection in Washington's 4th Legislative District. Apparently Spokane Valley voters are extremely tolerant of kooks, as long as they fight for your right to ride ATVs in wilderness areas.
Shea's values (guns, god, and climate change is a liberal propaganda) may seem wildly out of touch to those of us in the western part of the state (for good reason), and Shea wants to do something about Washington's east-west, urban-rural divide: Namely, break it up.
For years, Shea has been advocating for what he calls the "Liberty State," a proposed 51st state that would split Washington in two at the Cascades. The Liberty State website has a list of "grievances" against the western part of the state, including "overly inflated taxes," "private property violations," and forcing parents to immunize their children, "regardless of religious conviction." (This last point, however, is incorrect: According to the Department of Health, state law allows people to opt their kids out of vaccines for religious, philisophical, or medical reasons, which is why places like Vashon Island have hideously low rates of vaccination. Incidentally, the right to expose your kid to infectuous diseases is one of the few places where the fringe left and right overlap. Sure, the far right eschews vaccines because Jesus and the left does it because Sharon down at the co-op said it causes autism, but it's good to see there's at least a little common ground left, I guess?)
As the Washington State Wire reports, in both the 2015 and 2017 legislative sessions, Shea brought forth a House Joint Memorial petition calling for the creation of Liberty State and is planning to pursue this agenda again in 2019, arguing that the cultures and economies of Washington state are just too different so we might as well just split it up. And maybe he's got a point? "Some in Seattle say we are a bunch of 'welfare freeloaders' siphoning off money from their social programs and that us 'hicks' are constantly an impediment to their more 'enlightened' social policies," the Liberty State website reads, which, really, is hard to argue with. Those hicks did, after all, re-elect Matt Shea to a fifth term in office.
For some reason I doubt splitting the state in half will get much traction in the legislature, but I do have an idea for how to fix the east-west divide and increase the diversity, both ideological and otherwise, in the eastern half of the state: Amazon should open HQ2 in Matt Shea's district. He could call it "Libtard City."
Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Matt Shea represents Spokane, not Spokane Valley, which is apparently a different thing. Who knew.