Governor Jay Inslee of Washington was just re-elected for his third term as governor earlier this month.
Inslee has been a staunch advocate for a statewide mask mandate and other restrictions and measures on businesses that he says are needed to fight the Coronavirus. A mask mandate statewide is in place in Washington.
Idaho on the other hand is one of approximately 13 states who do not have a statewide mask mandate. Instead, Governor Brad Little has left the issue of mask mandates up to local cities, counties, and health districts.
Inslee blasted Idaho’s decision making during the Coronavirus at a recent press conference.
Inslee was asked about people who are crossing the border from Idaho into Washington and the Spokane area in particular.
In the video, Inslee mentions a mask mandate that was recently repealed in Idaho. While Inslee does not make mention of the specific mask mandate he was referring to, Inslee is likely referring to the Panhandle Health District’s mask mandate that was repealed back in late October.
The video above was shot on November 15th which was before the Panhandle Health District reinstated their mask mandate on November 19th, just days after Inslee’s comments.
Inslee called Idaho’s leaders irresponsible and said he hopes they will be more “responsible” and “aggressive” in reducing the “burden on the Spokane medical system.”
Idaho Dispatch reached out to Governor Little to see if he had any response to Inslee’s comment but we have not yet heard from his office. If Little does respond, we will update the article accordingly.
Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, who Idaho Dispatch also reached out to, had this response to Inslee:
It is a common understanding that the first large outbreak of Covid-19 in Idaho was from a group of people from Washington attending a wedding reception in Sun Valley, Idaho. Mr Inslee is quick to criticize Idaho yet the reality is that we are experiencing a massive influx of people fleeing liberal states and their crackdowns on our freedoms and basic constitutional rights. Like many others across the political spectrum, Mr. Inslee confuses leadership with autocratic central planning. Leadership involves translating your vision and inspiration, not using force and threats to compel compliance. It is fundamentally wrong to deprive individuals from being able to provide for themselves and their families, which is a direct result of government shutdown and restrictions of small business.
Our basic right to worship freely has also been infringed with government restrictions. I have consistently opposed mask mandates, and I would encourage Mr. Inslee—in addition to other Governors—to follow the example of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who not only refuses to impose a mask mandate on his state but who is also preventing local governments from enforcing mask mandates through fines and penalties. I believe respecting individual liberty and autonomy must remain the foundation of all policy decisions. Instead of coercion, we should work to find solutions to the challenges we face. One of those challenges includes increasing healthcare capacity. Treating Covid patients efficiently and keeping them out of our hospitals is a solution I recently offered to Governor Little. These challenges will continue as Idaho’s population grows. We will need to be creative and rely on our citizens’ help to effectively deal with these challenges. This is the mark of true leadership.
Does Idaho need to be more like Washington in our Coronavirus response? Are we doing the right things now?
Or what would you do differently if you were governor in Idaho?
Let us know in the comments below.
Tags: Brad Little, Coronavirus, Idaho, Janice McGeachin, Jay Inslee, Mask Mandate, Washington