(Headline USA) Several Kentucky Republicans slammed Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear over a controversial mask requirement for state workers and announced that they would not enforce the mandate in their offices.
Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles fired off a tweet Wednesday evening at the new requirement, proposing that it would “undermine confidence in the vaccine at a time when it is needed most.”
“These decisions are giving Kentuckians whiplash,” said Quarles, who is considered a potential rival to Beshear in his bid for a second term in 2023.
“First no mask, then mask,” Quarles said. “Short term measures turn into long term shutdowns. Our people have Kentucky common sense and are more likely to be persuaded by reason than by threats or mandates.”
Beshear issued the order for state workers and visitors to any state building Wednesday, prompted by revised guidance from partisan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, under pressure from the Biden administration.
CDC data shows that only 49.4% of those in the US have submitted thus far to the experimental jab, embarrassing the Democrat administration among globalist European countries with much higher vaccination rates.
Beshear said he isn’t able to take disciplinary action against workers in the Department of Agriculture, the office of the state treasurer, the Legislative Research Commission or the state auditor’s office who don’t wear masks, but he warned that they “face a much higher likelihood that they get COVID and they get really sick” if they don’t.
In response to Beshear, three of the four agencies said Thursday they will not enforce the governor’s new mask requirement.
Those three are run by Republicans chosen in statewide elections. The fourth agency, the LRC, which is co-chaired by the Senate President and House Speaker in the General Assembly, where the GOP holds substantial majorities in both chambers, also said it would not enforce the rule, media outlets report.
“Because the majority of state employees who work regularly in our Frankfort office are vaccinated, and can also social distance in their individual workspaces, masks will be considered optional for employees and visitors to our Frankfort office,” said Michael Goins, a spokesman for State Auditor Mike Harmon, in a statement.
The governor petulantly defended his decree on Thursday, insisting he was focused on the best interest of Kentuckians, while also appearing to take a few partisan swipes.
“Listen, I care more about my people than my popularity,” he said.
“I got the backbone to do what’s right for them and I wish other people did too,” the clearly irritated Democratic governor told reporters. “At some point you got to do the right thing for your people and not try to score political points.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.