Republicans question Gov. Inslee’s intentions as state reaches 900 days of emergency governance

Aug 20, 2022, 8:08 AM
emergency governance...
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee speaks prior to U.S. President Joe Biden's appearance at Green River College on April 22, 2022 in Auburn, Washington. Biden spoke about the high cost of prescription drugs and child care as hardships on American families. He is on a multi-day trip to the Pacific Northwest, with stops in Portland and Seattle. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

As of this week, Washington residents have lived under emergency governance, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, for 900 straight days.

Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Delaware, Illinois, and New York all have emergency governance orders ending in August, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Rhode Island’s Disaster Emergency Plan is set to expire September 2.

Only California, West Virginia, and Washington have emergency orders in place with no official end date.

“This is an important policy issue. It’s important that we have a government that responds to the people in the way our constitution envisioned,” Republican Senator John Braun said on the Dori Monson Show. And to a certain extent, the average person in the state of Washington, they’re just moving on. They got lives to lead, they got their own challenges, and they’re no longer paying attention to the actions of our governor, as he holds on to emergency powers for 900-plus days.”

Under emergency governance, the governor possesses many additional powers, including establishing a curfew, prohibiting and limiting the sale of goods — alcohol in particular, closing city streets and highways, and limiting the number of people in public spaces.

Inslee to rescind 12 emergency decrees related to COVID-19

With the governor’s ability to initiate the emergency governance, many have wondered why he hasn’t ended it earlier if he can merely start it up again when conditions worsen or another crisis breaks.

“I think he’s completely wrong. We have done ok during the pandemic, but I give that credit to the people in the state of Washington, making good decisions for themselves and their families and their communities,” Braun said. “It’s not because somehow state government led us to success. In fact, you can make very reasoned arguments that just the opposite.”

Braun was first elected to the Washington State Senate in 2012 to represent Southwest Washington’s 20th Legislative District, which includes most of Cowlitz and Lewis counties along with parts of Clark and Thurston.

Last year, in an interview with TVW’s Mike McClanahan, Inslee made a comment that only he can save lives during the pandemic.

“There is only one person in the state of Washington who has the capability to save those lives right now, and it happens to be the governor of the state of Washington,” Inslee said in the interview.

“I do think he’s disconnected. And I think it’s going to be up to the voters to decide what happens,” Braun said. “That is our focus, we need balance to get better policy to create a state that works for everybody across the state. Clearly, the primary didn’t go like many of us hoped it would go. We didn’t get the red wave that some claimed was going to come. We still have great candidates, we still have several races that we are in the fight that we have a chance to pick up.”

Braun listed the three primary issues he and his party are focusing on: Affordability, public safety, and education.

“Those are the issues people care about and those are the things that we will be focused on,” Braun said. “The Democrats are out there trying to distract people from the terrible policies they put in place over the last five years.”

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Republicans question Gov. Inslee’s intentions as state reaches 900 days of emergency governance