Wisconsin is setting all-time records for new COVID-19 cases and reporting one of the highest rates of positive infections in the country and Kewaunee County’s cases are spiking. In response Gov. Evers extended the state mask mandate until late November to stem the spread of a virus which has claimed over 200,000 American lives – more than the loss of Americans in World War I, Korea, and Vietnam combined.
Instead of rallying behind the governor’s efforts to reduce infections (or work to advance any other plans to slow the spread), our Wisconsin legislative leadership indicated that they will spend their valuable time in support of court challenges to the extended mandate. Our Wisconsin legislature under the direction of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos have not even recommended that the State Senate or Assembly address the COVID-19 virus and in fact, the Republican controlled legislature has not met in session to conduct business since April 14. Legislators are still getting paid, but for the past six months they have not met to address the alarming spike in COVID cases or any other issues for that matter.
If being a Republican legislator means having to “play to your base” by ignoring one of the most serious medical threats in recent history, then they have been a resounding success. If only our Republican-led legislature could have broken with the national leadership and recommended just a small amount of shared sacrifice, i.e. wearing a mask in public, instead of pitting those trying to protect themselves and others against those who feel their individual choice trumps any interest in the common good. We have front line workers risking their lives to save Wisconsin citizens while our legislature, led by Messer’s Fitzgerald and Vos are using their leadership positions to help advance court fights which if successful will only increase the risks to our valued first responders and medical staffs. One can only hope that a far more caring and compassionate set of legislators will be filling some of those Senate and Assembly seats following the November elections.
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