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WA GOP Chairman: Republicans have limited leverage in fighting Inslee’s mandates

Diners Bonnie Breitman, left, and Casey McGan huddle near an outdoor gas fire as they eat lunch outside in a blustery wind Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Bellingham, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The COVID-19 mandates from Governor Jay Inslee will likely lead into Christmas and the new year, and potentially beyond. How much longer can we operate under restrictions in Washington state, and do Republicans have leverage to negotiate some of the mandates? Washington’s GOP Chairman Caleb Heimlich joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss.

“I think we have very limited leverage,” he said. “That’s what I would say. I mean, we have been asking for eight months now for a special session for Republicans to have a voice in this. This is not the way our system was designed to work, where one man, the governor, gets to issue edicts, and govern, and determine how we live our lives, who we gather with, how we worship — this is not the way our system was designed.”

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While there are some efforts underway to limit Inslee’s powers and the extent of the mandates, Heimlich says Washington Republicans are limited in what they can do.

“There are some different things that are in process to kind of change that,” he said. “I would encourage people to go to restorewashington.org and sign Initiative 1114 that would limit emergency declarations to two weeks. So that’s one thing that we could do is start to limit these emergency powers. I know there are many pieces of legislation — Drew McEwen has brought some forward related to limiting powers and providing some economic relief.”

WA Rep: Inslee has an ‘elementary understanding of what risk really is’

“But ultimately, as long as Governor Inslee, as long as the Democrats refuse to budge, then there’s not much that can be done through the legislative process,” he added.

For those who may be frustrated by the mandates and want their voice to be heard, Heimlich says there are a few options outside of what’s mentioned above.

“We have actually a website set up. You can go to wsrp.org/shutdownresponse, and we’re asking people to do three things,” he said. “Number one, send an email to Governor Inslee. I think he needs to hear from the people of Washington state. He needs to know that we’re not happy about this … Call your legislators, and if those are Republicans, then call and encourage them and tell them to stand strong and to keep making noise.”

“But if you live in an area where you have Democrat legislators, that’s really where we need to apply the most pressure,” Heimlich added. “Because we’ve seen a small crack developing in the Democratic coalition, where there were Democrats on the call with the restaurant association saying we need to revisit these draconian shutdowns on restaurants when there’s no evidence that they’ve been linked to this type of massive spread and deserved to be singled out, and just completely shut down and devastated as we’re going into the holiday season.”

Applying this pressure would help push for change at the legislative level, he says.

“So calling your legislator and letting them hear from you that they need to join with Republicans, call a special session and address these issues through a legislative process, I think that is our best chance to actually start moving the ball forward.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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