New Illinois, a movement to separate most of the state of Illinois from Cook County, hosted a rally in White County Saturday afternoon.

G.H. Merritt, co-founder of the organization, spoke at the White County Fairgrounds in Carmi Saturday, as did several other speakers in favor of separation from Chicago. The mission statement of the organization was stated plainly by Merritt when responding to an inquiry from a member of the crowd on hand.

“We don’t want to kick Chicago out,” she said. “We want to kick ourselves out. We don’t want to be left with this corrupt Illinois government.

“We want a new start in a new state with a new constitution.”

Merritt listed three reasons why New Illinois feels separation from Chicago is necessary for the success of the rest of the current state.

First, she stated that Illinois currently does not have a representative form of government for those who reside outside of Cook County. Second, the state of Illinois is facing a “financial disaster.” Lastly, she pointed out what she referred to as “the systemic government corruption that has led to (reasons) number one and number two.”

The New Illinois spokesperson did state that these problems aren’t recent developments, but noted that some new concerns have brought them to the forefront for many throughout the state.

“Why now?” Merritt asked rhetorically. “Because the government of Illinois is hurting the people of Illinois.

“And we have some new problems.”

Among those new problems is the state’s decision to become a sanctuary state, refusing to cooperate with the federal government in its handling of illegal immigration.

“By becoming a sanctuary state, Illinois is in rebellion to the federal government,” she stated. “Also, the state of Illinois pays $3.85 billion annually for education and social services for people in this country illegally, even though the state is on the verge of insolvency.”

Merritt also cited voter fraud and gerrymandering as problems created by a corrupt state government, noting that the use of Chicago IDs, which are given to those in the country both legally and illegally as an acceptable form of identification for voter registration will serve to further dilute the votes of those located outside of Chicago’s city limits.

“And, of course, the state of Illinois has nothing to say about this.”

Merritt also explained what separates New Illinois from most movements attempting to address the issues and concerns she noted in her speech.

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