As the COVID-19 pandemic winds down and the rest of our country returns to life as normal, Washington state has emerged as a leader in oppression.
Nearly 2,000 state government employees got the ax Oct. 18 for defying the governor’s decree that they be vaccinated for COVID-19. No other state has taken vaccine mandates to this extreme.
This shocking act led me to join with the Freedom Caucus of the Washington state Senate in calling for Gov. Jay Inslee to resign. I did not lend my voice to this cause lightly. My call for Inslee’s resignation is not based upon policy differences or personality conflicts.
My decision to call for resignation is based upon the governor’s failure of leadership, his abuse of the powers granted to him by the people of our state and his use of the COVID-19 pandemic to divide our state through hate and fear.
On the second Monday of January 2021, when the Washington state Legislature met to open its 2021 session, lawmakers and citizens were greeted by a 10-foot-high wall surrounding the Capitol building. Behind the fence, and encircling the Capitol, were some 600 National Guard troops and many more Washington State Patrol officers. Let me be clear, the National Guard and state patrol did nothing improper.
But the use of military force to bar the people from the “people’s house,” and to block access for many of their elected representatives, was a clear signal of the danger to democracy and freedom in our state.
Jay Inslee abused his powers under emergency laws to lock out the public and lock in a radical agenda that attacked everything from private property rights to the ability of parents to choose the best educational programs for their children. He and his party took full advantage of the public’s absence to pass controversial legislation to drive up gas prices and impose a state income tax. This agenda took aim even at the very law enforcement officers Inslee had ordered to surround the Capitol.
Now Inslee is abusing his powers again, to purge law enforcement, fire departments, hospitals, prisons, transportation and every state agency under his control of employees who refuse to comply with his mandates.
We do not live in Communist China. We can see what is happening in Florida, Texas, Arizona and the other states in Free America. They do not have vaccine mandates. They are not in lockdowns. Their residents do not have to show papers to attend football games on Saturday afternoons.
Those who have been fired by Jay Inslee can move across the state line, to Idaho and elsewhere, and go to work tomorrow.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 situation, Jay Inslee has used the fear of the virus to promote his partisan agenda. Members of the Freedom Caucus repeatedly called for a special legislative session to deal with our COVID response, and Inslee refused each and every time — sometimes without the courtesy of a response.
He has locked out the legislative representatives of almost 50 percent of Washington’s population.
Even as Free America is getting back to normalcy, Jay Inslee is doubling down and making it harder for Washington to recover.
His purge of law enforcement officers, coupled with his effort to defund the police, makes our communities less safe.
He is firing nurses, putting health care at risk.
He is firing Department of Transportation employees. Now ferry runs are being canceled and it may be difficult, if not impossible, to keep our mountain passes clear.
The list could go on of the ways Inslee’s one-man rule has damaged our state.
It didn’t have to be this way. I am not calling on Jay Inslee to resign due to differences in our politics. I am calling on Jay Inslee to resign due to lack of leadership and abuse of power. It will take years to undo the damage he has done, and to restore faith and credibility in state government. Resignation would be the honorable thing, and a good start.
Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, represents Whatcom County’s 42nd Legislative District.