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Justice invites 3 Maryland counties to join West Virginia

Gov. Justice is inviting three Maryland counties that are asking to leave the state to join West Virginia.
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 10:27 AM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - State representatives in Maryland are asking for three counties to leave the state and become part of West Virginia -- and Gov. Jim Justice is welcoming them with open arms.

The counties - Allegany, Garrett and Washington - are the three westernmost counties in the state.

Lawmakers from the counties cited “growing frustration with the Democratic-controlled legislature in Annapolis” as the reason for the proposed change, the Washington Post reported.

The counties have a combined population of approximately 250,000, according to 2020 census data.

On Friday, Justice made it clear he’d welcome the joining.

“Absolutely, without question, the invitation is wide open,” he said, adding the state would be “tickled to death to have them.”

Justice said West Virginia, which suffered the most population loss of any state in the most recent census, has not been actively recruiting counties to join the state.

Justice said the Maryland counties would experience improved roads, job opportunities, and a “chance to live in paradise,” if they joined.

“Come and join the team,” he said.

There are 23 counties in Maryland, and West Virginia has 55.

5 News is reaching out to state lawmakers to learn how a process like this could occur. Tune in to 5 News at 5 and 6 for more.

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