SPOKANE, Wash. — On Facebook, Liberty State has over 3,300 people who support a secession from western Washington to give eastern Washington better representation.
The group plans on running a booth at the Spokane Interstate Fair despite a petition calling for the fair to separate itself from the group.
"The right-wing extremists behind the Liberty State movement have been granted a booth at the Spokane Interstate Fair which opens in a few days on September 6th, 2019," the Change.org petition reads. "The fair should be about winning ribbons, live music, rides, and regrettable food choices; not advancing an agenda affiliated with Christian Dominionism, misogyny, racism, and recruiting potential extremists willing to carry out armed revolution."
More than 550 people have signed the petition at last check.
The Liberty movement has faced criticism because of its ties to Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) and a recent investigative report from The Guardian linking him to a group that offers training for "biblical warfare." The report has sparked calls for Shea's resignation from leaders at the local and state levels.
In January, Shea was one representative to introduce a bill that would split Washington into two states, with the dividing line at the Cascade mountain range. Shea is a long-time proponent of the so-called "51st state."
There has long been talk about splitting Washington into two states but none of the plans ever made it off the ground.
Rob Chase is the Spokane County Liaison for Liberty State and he said the booth will be a good opportunity to educate people about the movement.
“Once we have signs up then people will say, maybe this is real,” Chase said. “If we have a fair booth we could actually answer the questions of the people, and they have very good questions and I think we have answers for them.”
Chase travels around eastern Washington and supplies signs in favor for the exit, with his latest stop being the Stevens County Fair.
He added that the booth in Spokane will also serve as a place to buy Liberty State paraphernalia.
In the event that the booth is met by protesters, Chase says the two sides will have a civil discussion and that Liberty State supporters will try to answer their questions.