Three counties in Maryland have formally sent a letter to West Virginia House Speaker Roger Hanshaw with interest in joining the Mountain State.

The three counties in Maryland are Garrett, Allegany, and Washington.

Speaker Hanshaw said he received two letters from state representatives in these counties expressing interest in joining West Virginia.

The letters were signed by State Sen. George Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington; and Delegates Wendell Beitzel, R-Garrett/Allegany; Jason Buckel, R-Allegany; Mike McKay, R-Alleghany/Washington; and William Wivell, R-Washington.

“This is step zero in what would be a lengthy process for a few Maryland counties exploring the prospect of breaking away and formally joining the state of West Virginia, but we certainly would welcome any border communities that may see their values better reflected here in the Mountain State,” said Speaker Hanshaw

The three Maryland counties have a combined 251,617 in population according to the 2020 U.S. Census.