COLUMBUS— Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), Minority Whip Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) and Assistant Minority Whip Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) issued a statement today in advance of potentially another record-shattering day of COVID-19 cases.
“It is obvious - DeWine has given up.
Instead of working to appoint a Health Director and creating a statewide response to this latest COVID19 surge, he’s writing open letters to Ohioans and calling on local leaders to build a patchwork defense to this pandemic. This is a dereliction of duty. Ohioans need consistent and reliable leadership during a crisis. Not a governor who only enforces rules for some, but not others. Essentially, he is telling us: we are on our own. He won’t actually do anything to stop the spread - at least not until after the election when it is less politically inconvenient.
Furthermore, it is shameful that he will not outright denounce those in his own party who constantly flaunt their refusal to follow the rules he himself has implemented to keep us safe. It is shameful that there are Statehouse Republicans who refuse to wear masks even after an outbreak in our own workplace led to several positive cases among Republican staff. And it is shameful that those from his own party in power at the state and federal level have served as such a poor example for the people they have been elected to serve.
If Governor DeWine doesn’t want to lead us through this crisis, he should at least hire a Health Director who will.”
In September, Governor DeWine waived his public health orders for political rallies ahead of an upcoming presidential rally in Toledo on September 21, citing the First Amendment as the reason. Democratic Representatives from the Toledo area called on him to reconsider saying “these science-based orders do not fundamentally hinder a campaign’s right to freedom of speech.” DeWine did not lift the waiver and the rally proceeded as scheduled, many in attendance unmasked, including President Trump. Public health data on new coronavirus cases suggested Lucas, Wood and Fulton counties saw spikes on September 24, according to the Toledo Blade.
A Stanford University study estimates there have been at least 30,000 coronavirus infections and 700 deaths as a result of 18 campaign rallies President Trump held from June to September.