Tucson group wants to secede from Arizona

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- It's the ultimate protest against actions by the Arizona legislature.  Secession.

Not from the United States, but from Arizona, making Pima County a separate state.

Some well known Tucsonans are now openly trying to start a secession movement.

Over the last couple years, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and State Senate President Russell Pearce have said some things and passed some bills that have made national headlines.  To those on the other side of the political aisle, that's not a good thing.

"We're tired of the extremism that's been portrayed to the rest of the country. and we feel we're different down here," said Paul Eckerstrom.

Attorneys Paul Eckerstrom and Peter Hormel believe the people in Pima County have different values.

"We're tired of being last in education funding," said Eckerstrom.  "We're tired of our tax money disappearing into Maricopa County with very little benefit coming back."

Eckserstrom and Hormel are tired of fighting what they call the "State of Maricopa," they want to literally form the state of Pima County.  They've formed a political committee called "Start our State" to begin the legal process of making Pima County America's 51st state.

The Chairs of Start our State want to bring the issue to the people by putting it on the ballot, but right now anyway, the board of supervisors aren't taking the movement seriously.

"I don't have a problem with it at all being humorous or being lighthearted, but also highlighting some very serious differences we have with some of those folks from the state of Maricopa," said Richard Elias.

Eckerstrom, however, insists its a serious effort.   "We don't want the rest of the nation to think everybody in Arizona is of the same opinion as those folks who are dominating the Arizona legislature right now," said Eckerstrom.

While they maintain it's a serious effort, they say if nothing else, it sends a message.

Already people are talking about it.  The Start our State Facebook page has plenty of support and even angry dissenters posting.

You'll likely see supporters gathering signatures in the near future, to get the question on the 2012 ballot.

Eckerstrom and Hormel say they'd love to get support from other nearby counties to join the effort. And if you think Pima County is too small to be a state, keep this in mind. Its bigger geographically than Vermont, new Hampshire, new jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode island. And has more people than Alaska, Montana, the Dakotas, Delaware, Vermont and Wyoming.