Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this email finds you and your families well! Since the Legislature adjourned on April 25, I've been busy working on the issues that impact our district and state. Our battle against COVID-19 is nearing the 18-month mark, and we continue to see improvements and setbacks. My thoughts and prayers are with anyone experiencing hardships due to the current surge in cases.
In this e-newsletter, I'll provide my thoughts on the current response to the pandemic surge, including the complex and personal decision to receive the vaccine – or not.
We've seen success in the state's approach in providing the opportunity for people to become vaccinated. Per the Washington State Department of Health, as of August 22, 72.4% of Washingtonians have received at least one dose of the vaccine – including myself – as a preventative measure against COVID-19.
Many of you have chosen not to get vaccinated for a myriad of reasons. I support your right to make your own health care decisions.
On August 9, Gov. Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 21-14, mandating most state employees, health, and long-term care workers are vaccinated by Oct. 18 or risk losing their jobs. On August 18, the governor further extended this mandate through Proclamation 21-14.1 to include those working in childcare, early learning, K-12, and higher education institutions.
I have received thousands of emails and calls from constituents, frontline workers, teachers, contractors, etc., from across the 2nd District regarding these mandates. I want to thank you for reaching out to me with your concerns, frustrations, and fears.
Using this aggressive tact, the governor hopes to achieve a higher vaccination percentage amongst Washingtonians. I have to disagree with his direction of using threats and severe consequences as the means to combat COVID-19.
The governor should not be acting alone without the Legislature's involvement. Along with my Republican colleagues, I think there are better solutions and will continue to work hard to reverse his direction. We believe he needs to remove these mandates, and by working together, we can educate, encourage, and support everyone's choice in fighting this virus. We've also:
- made emergency powers reform one of our legislative priorities;
- sponsored legislation, pushed to move it forward, and debated it on the House floor;
- discussed the issue at several news conferences;
- advocated for a more open Capitol Campus and inclusive 2021 legislative session;
- shared news and our views on social media, including Facebook and Twitter;
- participated in radio programs and sent out radio releases;
- written opinion pieces;
- met with editorial boards and even won some over;
- sent letters to the governor;
- hosted Zoom and telephone town halls;
- publicly opposed vaccine mandates;
- called for special sessions;
- responded to constituent questions about the governor's authority and Legislature's limited role during emergencies; and
- countless other communications, including email updates and videos.
Emergency powers reform will continue to be a legislative priority for my colleagues and me.
In my next e-newsletter, I'll update you on the work I've been doing in the transportation and housing arenas and how I'm already preparing for the 2022 legislative session.