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State Senator says ‘it’s been time to reopen,’ pushes to start recovery now

Pedestrians fill the sidewalk on June 10, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. As the state is approaching a full economic reopening at the end of June, Seattle has fully vaccinated 70% of its residents above age 12, making it the most inoculated major city in the United States surpassing San Francisco. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

There’s a number of voices in Washington, including state Senator Jeff Wilson, who represents the 19th Legislative District, calling for the state to reopen now.

“My tagline goes a little further: It’s been time to reopen. Not just now, but yes, we need to put the open sign back up on the state of Washington,” Wilson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

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Governor Inslee has set a date of June 30 for a full reopening, with the promise that it could come sooner if the state were to reach 70% of those age 16 and up with at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. So why not just wait the two weeks until the set date at end of the month?

“We’ve had a lot of ‘set the dates,'” Wilson said. “I can recall 15 months ago, we were having discussions about flattening the curve. Well, we’ve been in a straight line for a while. It doesn’t resemble a curve anymore. So whatever taglines and programs are coming from the executive branch, that’s up to them. … But it’s time to get us back, and we can do this safely, we can do it responsibly, and we can also do it without silly little notions of prizes and contests as well.”

Wilson thinks the state could have reopened before the vaccines were distributed.

“A lot of it is about control and the method of control. Local health districts have somehow had their voices silenced, local communities, commissioners, and counties, we’ve removed their voice and thrown it to, of course, Olympia,” he said. “I think that there was a time that we’ve already passed that, again, we can open safely and open now.”

“Mask wearing as a mandate? That says there’s no choice. And I don’t ever hear of any talk of when that mandate is going to end,” he added. “We can control those things on a local level and respect our constituents to do the right thing. We are educated enough. The virus has been around long enough. We can act responsibly, but … we’re just being told what to do.”

Wilson does recognize that we’ve all been through a deadly pandemic. But there is a concern that Gov. Inslee won’t give up his emergency powers, since it’s unclear when COVID-19 will actually be gone as more variants emerge and daily cases are still being recorded.

“Fear sells, but I’m not buying it,” Wilson said. “In other words, we have to be aware — and this is a very deadly pandemic that we’ve all been through — but we do see light at the tunnel. And that’s, I guess, the ultimate deal is should one person have such power? And the answer in common sense world is absolutely not. You should share in the decision making process instead of letting the governor to continue to rule.”

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Wilson also points out that while the word used is “reopen,” there are a number of places that won’t reopen after closing their doors during the ongoing shutdowns. Without a recovery effort, he worries there won’t be anything to reopen.

“We’re not going to reopen because there may not be recovery to hundreds of businesses that are gone,” he said. “We’ve noted that big corporations have done very well in the state of Washington during the pandemic. But mom and pop operations and smaller businesses, many are never coming back. So recovery? Recovery to what? How do you recover when in fact you’ve ended up creating more fatalities on an economic scale that you could ever recover from and reopen to?”

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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