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Don’t like your state’s politics? Just move the state line


Don’t like your state’s politics? Just move the state line

Sep 19, 2023 | 7:00 am ET
By Michael Leppert
Don’t like your state’s politics? Just move the state line
An Oregon group wishes to cede their territory to neighboring Idaho — what could Indiana offer in an interstate trade?(Matt Vasilogambros/Stateline)

Oh, to have the fantastical enthusiasm of a group of people in eastern Oregon!

Yes, I meant “fantastical,” not fantastic. A group of Oregonians have decided that the best remedy to solve their disagreements with their home state is to have their Oregon turf be ceded to Idaho.

That’s right. Citizens for Greater Idaho is a group that is serious about this. They don’t identify with the coastal “libs” who control state government in Oregon, and they want to leave. But these folks want to take their land with them.

I’d tell them that the grass isn’t always greener, but in this case, it’s the same grass. Besides, they don’t want it to be greener. They want it to be redder. The secessionists in the east are unimpressed with elitist Williamette Valley wine from the western part of the state. They identify with the Idaho potato to their east. They are salt of the Earth, you know, salt that goes better with baked, mashed and fries.

This is no joke though. And learning about it this week got me thinking. I have complaints about my home state of Indiana too, as my regular readers are painfully aware. Maybe these folks from the northwest are onto something: If they can trade land, can we? And if so, what else can we trade with other states?

To listen to a podcast version of this column, click here.

As one might imagine, I’ve got a list.

Indiana roads are terrible. None are worse than the ones in Indianapolis. Any objective traveler can see and feel this just by driving through. Hoosiers driving across the country who don’t feel the comparable smoothness of the roads in virtually any other state, must be texting, incessantly. Kentucky’s roads rank 7th by U.S. News & World Report. I’ve spent a lifetime making fun of our southern neighbor, leading to my complete oversight of how smooth their highways are while driving through it, usually without stopping.

Attorney General Todd Rokita, the shame of Indiana, seems to be trying to win a bet as the worst in America. Rokita seems jealous of his Texas counterpart, Ken Paxton, who escaped his impeachment trial over the weekend, though his federal indictment still lingers. While any of our neighbors would be at least a slight upgrade in a trade, I pick Kwame Raoul of Illinois. He is bravely focusing on corruption in his own party. Imagine having an AG focused on cleaning up government instead of one who specializes in frivolous lawsuits, running off healthcare providers, and embarrassing himself on social media.

Two recent resignations from the Indiana Senate have shined a light on another Hoosier defect. The good-old-boy way we fill those vacancies is through the political party that apparently owns the seat of the retiree. It’s no wonder that both old white guys who quit in the last month are getting replaced by two new old white guys. Only four states do it this way, including Illinois. So, since Michigan recently stole Pete and Chasten Buttigieg from us, the least they can do is give us their special election process for filling legislative vacancies.

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Is there anything I would keep? There’s not much better than Indiana sweet corn, a tomato from any neighbor’s garden here, or a melon from Knox County. Of course, those seasons are short, and have all recently ended. At least the pork tenderloin sandwich is year-round. But I had one at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday that didn’t sit well with me. Maybe I ate it too fast and angrily while watching IU get destroyed in the first half of the game against Louisville. I couldn’t even rally for the second half nachos I had planned. I’d like to consider something lighter for a while on a trial basis as our state sandwich. I’m open to suggestion, but the Philly cheesesteak is the leader on my list.

The last time land was swapped between states was in 1961 when twenty acres of Minnesota was ceded to North Dakota near Fargo. Of course, that was the result of a rerouted river that was part of an elaborate water and flood management project. The Citizens for Greater Idaho are talking about far more than twenty acres, and at the same time, they are talking about far less complicated reasons.

While I have given Indiana some excellent swaps to consider here, the idea coming from eastern Oregon is a bad one. A really bad one. Unless, in exchange, we can establish statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Now that’s a deal I can endorse.

Just to show my seriousness on that offer, I will trade the Hoosier pork tenderloin for the Puerto Rico mofongo. And happily, so.