COLUMBUS – State Representative Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today issued a statement following a tweet from President Donald Trump that he and the First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19.


“First of all, I wish the President and First Lady a speedy recovery from their coronavirus diagnosis. But there are lessons to learn and there are steps to take. Simply put, mask wearing and COVID-19 testing must both increase immediately in Ohio and in the Statehouse.


This virus is passed from one to another based upon the proximity to the disease. One of the most critical ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is by wearing a mask.  It is clear that the virus does not care if you believe in it or not. If you get too close, it will find you - as it has already found 7 million Americans and 150,000 Ohioans.


The Trump administration has been the most "Anti-Fact" administration in the nation's history. They have attacked scientists, medical doctors, the American intelligence professionals and the media. But this troubling behavior is not limited to Washington D.C. and can also be found in Columbus.


In recent months, I have observed only a few members of the Ohio House Republican Caucus wearing masks during floor voting sessions. The overwhelming majority do not. While serving on the Select Committee for Energy Policy and Oversight, only two of nine Republicans have consistently worn masks. At this time, we do not know how many of the Republicans members or their staff interacted with the President and/or his entourage in recent days. Due to the lack of testing of State Representatives, it is impossible to know if COVID-19 has taken hold within our legislative chamber.


I believe in science over fiction, I believe in facts over lies. I believe in medical experts over political consultants and talk radio personalities. I believe that state leaders must act to protect Ohioans - and that an example needs to start inside the Ohio Statehouse. To that end, I am asking Speaker Bob Cupp to immediately mandate masks at all future Ohio House Committee meetings and Floor Voting Sessions for Representatives, staff and visitors at the Ohio Statehouse. The work of the people need not become a super spreader event during a global pandemic without a treatment or cure. To continue to ignore this threat is reckless, irresponsible, cowardly and ignorant.”


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