Idaho Dispatch

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Three Democrat Lawmakers Ask Governor Little to do More

By • December 18, 2020

At Governor Little’s press conference on December 10th, he announced that Idaho would remain in a modified Stage 2.

Little was under pressure at the conference by reporters on why he was not implementing a statewide mask mandate. To date, Little has left mask and social distancing requirements up to local governing bodies such as district health boards, counties, and cities.

However, soon after Little’s conference, three Democrat lawmakers sent him a letter urging him to take more action to fight COVID-19.

Senator Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise), Representative Lauren Necochea (D-Boise), and Representative Chris Mathias (D-Boise) all signed the letter which was on Wintrow’s letterhead for her senate office.

In the letter, the lawmakers say that they want Little to implement a statewide mask mandate to help save more lives from being lost from COVID-19. Additionally, they say that the governor should implement more restrictions on “indoor gatherings.”

The letter also states that their health district, Central District Health, could not “fulfill the local control” Little supports because of an “unruly and threatening crowd outside of their meeting.”

In closing, the three lawmakers tell Little to do everything he can to prevent more deaths in Idaho.

Here is the wording of the letter in full:

Dear Governor Little,

Idaho is at a crossroads and human lives are at stake. As Nurse Connelly said during your press conference, 3,000 people died in the U.S. from COVID-19 today alone. That is more than the number of lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attack. The people who have died are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. They had families. They were grandmas, grandpas, mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons. They were valuable people who deserved leaders with the courage to make compassionate choices to protect their communities.

We implore you to enact and require the best practices that medical experts have approved to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These practices include wearing a facial covering, physical distancing, encouraging employers to support employees working at home, and restricting indoor gatherings. Your own Idaho Economic Rebound Advisory Committee has recommended a statewide mask order because the only way to build back our economy is to stop the pandemic.

You have made it clear you want citizens to do the right thing. You were practically begging Idahoans during your press conference to make ‘good choices.” Unfortunately, many people are making dangerous choices that endanger the entire state. You also acknowledge the crisis that we face: hospitals are turning people away and making unprecedented plans to ration care. Our own health district couldn’t fulfill the local control that you support due to the unruly and threatening crowd outside of their meeting. Your current approach is not working.

You cannot continue to rely on hope that everyone will make “good choices.” You must hold people accountable with the use of the law and order strategies that we rely on to protect us from other dangers. Idahoans recognize the difficulty of your political situation, but there is no more patience or space for the decisions that willfully contribute to increasing the coronavirus death rate.

Critical moments require critical action. You are the only person with the authority to immediately require safety measures statewide that will prevent the spread of this deadly, contagious virus.

We appreciate you acknowledging the serious time we are in, but you need to take the next steps to address the problem. We have heard from an overwhelming majority of constituents who want to see you be the leader they chose and you aspire to be.

We have known you to be a compassionate and knowledgeable leader who genuinely cares for Idaho families. Idahoans are here to support you when you make the difficult decision that is necessary to keep people alive and healthy. We have been following your guidance since the beginning of the pandemic, and we’re willing to help you keep Idahoans safe with required safety measures.

Too many Idahoans have already lost their lives. We implore you to do everything in your power to prevent more tragedies.

Respectfully,

Senator Melissa Wintrow
Representative Lauren Necochea
Representative Chris Mathias

Idaho Dispatch has reached out to Little’s office to see if he has released, or wanted to release, a  response to the letter. We have not yet received communication from the governor’s office but will update the article if a response is received.

Do you think Little should implement a statewide mask mandate as requested by these three Democrat lawmakers?

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Tags: Brad Little, Chris Mathias, Covid-19, Lauren Mecochea, Melissa Wintrow