Officials in the City of South Miami have passed a resolution in favor of splitting the state in half so South Florida would become the 51st state.
Harris told the commission that Tallahassee isn’t providing South Florida with proper representation or addressing its concerns when it comes to sea-level rising.
“We have to be able to deal directly with this environmental concern and we can’t really get it done in Tallahassee,” Harris said. “I don’t care what people think — it’s not a matter of electing the right people.”
Mayor Philip Stoddard agreed with Harris’ reasoning, saying during the meeting that he’s advocated for secession for the past 15 years but never penned a resolution.
“It’s very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean,” Stoddard said. “They’ve made that abundantly clear every possible opportunity and I would love to give them the opportunity to do that.”
But the vote wasn’t unanimous. Commissioners Gabriel Edmond and Josh Liebman voted against the resolution with Edmond, a history teacher, being the most vocal about it.
“I just want you guys to be careful because if you vote for this you’re setting a precedent that if other people in this city don’t like our representation or feel we’re not responsive to them they might say ‘we want to break away from the city of South Miami’.”
The resolution lists the northern border of what would be the state of South Florida as being Brevard, Orange, Polk, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Orange County is particularly important because that’s where the South Florida Water Management District begins, Harris said. It was even suggested that a Central Florida city could possibly be the state of South Florida’s capitol.
In total, the proposed 51st state would include 24 counties.
The resolution’s 3-2 approval paved the way for it to be sent to the governing bodies of the proposed South Florida counties for consideration. In order for secession to be enacted, however, the measure would require electorate approval from the entire state and Congressional approval.