Vaccine mandate concessions for special groups show political science driving governor’s decisions, says Wilson

OLYMPIA…Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, released the following statement in reaction to reports that at least one union has been able to negotiate concessions to the governor’s vaccine mandate, which requires certain Washingtonians to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or lose their livelihoods.

“Washington’s legislators represent the people – all the people – not just the ones who belong to the unions affected by the vaccine mandate. In a Democratic republic, which is what Washington is supposed to be, the legislators would have been involved from the beginning in negotiating the details of any mandates on the COVID vaccine. We were never included. Why? Because the governor’s emergency powers allow him to act alone and he has a political agenda that colors his actions. Do I have to sue the governor for my constituents’ voices to be heard?

“What’s the science at play in these negotiations? Political science. There is no such thing here as one mandate for all of Washington to follow when different groups are allowed to negotiate for different concessions. If real science was driving the governor’s decisions, he would apply the same standards across the board. That is not what is happening here.

“Every agency and group seem to have their own version of the exemption applications. One group’s religious exemption applications are denied. Another group is told their members won’t get fired if their exemption is pending when Oct. 18 rolls around. Still another group has apparently been led to believe their members’ applications for religious exemptions won’t be closely scrutinized. Where’s the consistency? Where’s the leadership? It’s certainly not in how the governor’s mandate is being applied.

“The governor might have more cooperation with the vaccination effort if he loosened his grip on power and involved legislators from both sides of the aisle in his decisions. At this rate, the governor’s hard stance may backfire. The loss of police, fire fighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and teachers who won’t be threatened into compliance could be devastating to our public health and public safety. And that’s all on Inslee.”