Keep lawmakers out of local health decisions
I am opposed to recent legislative bills (in Missouri) that propose to strip local health authorities of the power to promulgate rules and regulations to help control the spread of contagious and communicable disease when a state of emergency has been declared.
Senate Bill 21 would (with limited exception) shift crisis response authority to the General Assembly. Senate Bill 31 would make political subdivisions and the county governing bodies the final arbiter of emergency response to public health crises.
When a community is in a public health crisis, there is critical need for nimbleness in crafting a response that will thwart the threat and protect that part of the public that is in danger. Local county health centers and their boards are uniquely qualified to quickly respond to public health-related states of emergency. They are close to the people affected, they understand the demographics of the populations they serve and they are health care professionals who understand the science of the health threat facing the people they serve and are allied to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
When it comes to protecting my health and the health of my neighbors in a state of emergency, I want public health professionals to have "tunnel vision." I want county health centers and their boards to be focused on containing the threat — quickly and effectively.
The General Assembly is not nimble. Nor should it be. It is a law-making deliberative body structured to be measured in the crafting of laws for the state as a whole. Its procedures and committees are not built for speed but for careful consideration, debate and input from the public. It meets four months a year. For the most part, the General Assembly is not composed of medical health professionals.
Political subdivisions and county commissions are somewhat nimble, but they are not, for the most part, infectious disease specialists or trained in responding to public health crises.
In a state of emergency emanating from a public health crisis, rule-making authority should be delegated to those who are best suited to respond to the problem. When the problem is local, the power to respond should be local as well. Additionally, the response body should be those trained in dealing the health threat. County and regional health centers and their boards of directors fit the bill on both counts. Leave well enough alone.
Won't bow to more government control
I learned long ago that just because a Joe Biden or a Donald Trump or a Leonard Pitts Jr. says or writes something doesn't make it true. Biden is no Abraham Lincoln, and Pitts is no Will Rogers.
I want no part of a unity that will deprive me of my right to hate or love someone else.
Extremism caused people to leave Europe and come to this land.
Extremism caused John Locke to write that men were capable of ruling themselves without a king.
Extremism caused Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ben Franklin, John Adams and other great men of their day to write a document that promised freedom and liberty to Americans.
We will not bow to those who want government to run our lives. We will not unite with those who buy votes with the welfare check. We will not unite with those who would forgive debts and have the American taxpayer bear the burden.
My memory includes peasants in Russia under communism, Cuba with Fidel Castro, Venezuela rich in oil and an economy in ruins, and all other nations that have followed the ideas of Karl Marx.
That is, in my opinion, the unity Biden wants and Pitts endorses it.
God save the Republic.
Tourists avoid Missouri because of Hawley vote
Editor's note: The following letter was sent to the Missouri Division of Tourism and a copy sent to the Globe.
My husband and I look forward to traveling the country again this year, after vaccinations and the return of tourist sites and attractions. We had planned to visit your state as we believe there are wonderful places to see and much to learn about Missouri.
Unfortunately, because of the actions of Sen. Josh Hawley, we have determined we will change our plans. Although all Americans have the right to vote for the elected official they believe best represents their interests, your senator chose to disregard our votes.
As residents of Pennsylvania, we were disheartened to see your senator attempt to invalidate our choice and our votes for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
We do not have any leverage over Hawley, but the residents of Missouri have much power. If they chose to tell Hawley that his actions were unacceptable, we believe he would at minimum apologize for his actions and at best resign from the Senate.
At the moment, we are using our voices to recommend to family and friends to boycott Missouri until Hawley is held accountable. We intend to do the same for Texas, as Sen. Ted Cruz is also a chief architect of the disgraceful events of Jan. 6.
We recognize not all Missourians voted for Hawley, but only the people of Missouri can rectify this stain on our democracy. We hope they take the necessary steps to hold him accountable.
We would add that many may not agree with our choices for public policies, such as support for state and local government, a vigorous approach to climate change, a reckoning of our racial distrust, etc., but several Republicans such as Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, disagree with Biden’s policies yet have the courage to tell the truth. The election was free, fair and more people voted for Biden than the other candidate.
Martin Blyskal and Patricia Amberg-Blyskal