Governor Jared Polis, in all of his wildly yet consistently tyrannical form, has abused Weld County for almost a year, since the beginning of government-imposed lockdowns. The situation between Governor Polis and Weld County is never good.
A movement to relocate Weld County from Colorado gained popularity after COVID-19 lockdowns intensified, but it was still a notion scoffed at in June of last year. But the citizens and the government of WeldCo march to the beat of a different drum; while most other towns have cowered at Polis’s threats and mandates, Weld County laughs at them.
When the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners proclaimed in April 2020 that it would allow all businesses who followed social distancing guidelines to safely remain open, citing lack of data to support lockdowns and businesses’ need to have actual customers, Governor Polis accused WeldCo of endangering lives and vowed to take “whatever steps necessary” to enforce compliance.
Polis threatened to rescind WeldCo business licenses, liquor licenses, and health department licenses. When the people of Weld County seemed unfazed by those threats, Polis threatened to withhold COVID-19 emergency funding for Weld County businesses. Unfortunately for Polis and his constant need to control the people of WeldCo, the county commissioners had already received and distributed the funding to local businesses.
In July, when a large gathering of Hispanic people on private property in Weld County held concerts and bull riding competitions at an all-day event, Governor Polis called those WeldCo people “stupid.”
“‘No government policy can force people not to be stupid,’ he said. He estimated the Weld County event could result in a ‘mass spreading event’ with 50 cases of the virus if even four or five people had the virus. He called the event ‘shady’ and likened those who won’t wear masks in large gatherings to drunk driving.
“‘If you party, go to large events, you’re risking the lives of innocent people… We will not stand for it and will put [to work] every available option to make people accountable.'” Polis told Colorado Politics.
Later on, that same month, when Governor Polis enacted a mask mandate for the state of Colorado, Weld County proclaimed it would not enforce a mask mandate on its citizens. Its statement from County Commissioners encouraged people to wear masks if desired, but it also stated that the mandate could not be constitutionally enforced.
Weld County Sheriff’s office also issued a statement on Governor Polis’s mask mandate, “An executive order is not the same thing as a law passed by the state legislature. There is no citation in Colorado’s Criminal Code that states a person is breaking the law by not wearing a face mask in public. We, therefore, don’t think we have the authority to fine or arrest someone for not wearing a face mask, ” reads a July statement on the Weld County Sheriff’s Office website.
WeldCo Sheriff Steve Reams is a vocal opponent of Governor Polis, frequently posts on Facebook his issues with Polis as well as obviously conservative-leaning posts. Reams frequently attends MAGA events, 1776 events, FEC United Events, and other conservative rallies. He is outspoken and a continuing thorn in Polis’s side.
Weld County commissioners remain steadfast in their refusal to cripple small businesses; as the media reported “surging cases” in November, WeldCo still refused to shut down businesses. Weld County does not allow the state’s distorted data to determine its policy decisions, and that eats at Governor Polis to no end.
As Greeley Tribune reported on the call in which Governor Polis, Weld County Commissioners, and Jill Hunsaker Ryan of Colorado Department of Public Health debated WeldCo’s commitment to keeping businesses open, Weld County Commissioner’s approach to COVID-19 is starkly different from most counties’ and a world away from Polis’s approach.
“‘I encourage you to talk to your hospitals,’ Polis said. ‘They’ll share what they’re experiencing. They’re not there yet, but we’re a few weeks from there if the trajectory doesn’t change.'”
“The commissioners pushed back on the assertion that they weren’t in communication with their hospitals, as well as that the hospitals were overwhelmed.”
“’We hear from our hospitals,’ Kirkmeyer said. ‘They’re nowhere near capacity or being overwhelmed.’
The battle between Weld County and Governor Polis is one of the most contentious in the state; one month has not passed in which the government and citizens of Weld County wanted to live their lives, and the Governor, CDPHE, and elected officials from nearby towns didn’t disagree about how to treat their businesses and citizens, or how to rule over them.
Just under two years ago, when the idea of Weld County secession was mentioned, that seemed like more of a joke than a reality. Weld County commissioner and Republican state Sen. Vicki Marble proposed the idea in 2019 when she felt that the state was not hearing the needs of Weld County Citizens. Recently, the Governor of Wyoming has welcomed the idea, which is rapidly gaining steam.
To make the secession and union legal, both Wyoming and Colorado legislatures would have to ratify the move, which is a wild premise given that Polis and Democrats control the Colorado legislature at present. No matter how badly the government and people of WeldCo could want the move to Wyoming, it’s entirely up to the legislature. That situation could lead to one in which a state, Wyoming, votes to annex WeldCo, whose population is over 324,000 people, over half of Wyoming’s under 579,000 people. Would the Colorado legislature allow Weld County to leave, if it wanted to do so?
Governor Polis posted today about how awesome Weld County is, despite the fact that he has abused its elected officials and people for a year, called them stupid, told them they’re risking people’s lives, and threatened them with their livelihoods, emergency funding meant to keep them alive, and the ability to make decisions for themselves.
Now, he wants WeldCo back, which is an interesting premise. Does he want it back badly enough to concede the county’s freedom, or will he continue to threaten it while asking it to stay? And if he makes certain concessions, do the people of Weld believe that he has changed, or is this just a manipulative act?
Like the typical manipulative act that Governor Polis is, in his overly sweet social media post about Weld County today, he threatened to take Cheyenne from Governor Mark Gordon and Wyoming. Polis probably thought Cheyenne might want him; Cheyenne is smart and strong-she’s already actively avoiding Polis and his Colorado.