Republicans in Wisconsin Legislature Playing Political Games Instead of Protecting Public Health

MADISON, Wis. — No matter what we look like or where we come from, we all want to be safe in our communities, whether we’re heading to work or just grabbing some groceries. Our communities’ strength comes from the ties that bind us and our care for one another. In a deadly pandemic, that means wearing a mask to protect not just yourself, but also those around you. But certain Republican politicians are playing politics with our health.

After more than nine months without a single bill sent to the Governor’s desk, some Republicans in the state legislature have spread lies about this virus and blocked basic public health measures, all to distract from their failures to keep us safe. Today, that obstructionism has reached a new level with the repeal of Governor Evers’ emergency order, an act that brings such consequences as eliminating the life-saving, popular mask mandate and risks the loss of nearly $50 million dollars per month in federal funding for food aid.

As Wisconsinites worry about putting food on the table or bringing home a deadly virus to a vulnerable family member, Republicans in the legislature have spent more time arguing over how best to attack and undermine the Democratic Governor’s effort to keep us safe than trying to provide constructive solutions. With new, more contagious variants beginning to spread in our community, Wisconsin risks losing the hard-won gains in the reduction of COVID spread that have only come thanks to the sacrifices and public health practices of our citizens, as well as the acceleration in vaccine distribution. With hope on the horizon in the form of these safe and effective vaccines, masking is ever more essential in the effort to keep Wisconsinites healthy until they can be vaccinated.

“The first and most important job of any public servant is to keep their constituents safe. Wisconsin Republicans have not only failed to offer a plan to contain COVID and help Wisconsinites survive a generational economic crisis, but they have actively made it worse by removing public health measures, like this mask mandate, all in the service of their political goals,” said A Better Wisconsin Together Executive Director Nicole Safar. “We deserve lawmakers who put our health, safety and economic well-being first, so that we can get back to eating in local restaurants, educating children safely in schools, and spending time with our loved ones.”

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives.