9th District legislators ask governor to let Whitman County partially reopen

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CONTACT: John Sattgast, Senior Public Information Officer for Rep. Mary Dye | 360-786-7257
Brendon Wold, Deputy Communications Director for Rep. Joe Schmick | 360-786-7698

9th District legislators ask governor to let Whitman County partially reopen

When Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday that 10 Washington counties may be allowed to partially reopen amid his stay-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 9th Legislative District team of Sen. Mark Schoesler, and Reps. Joe Schmick and Mary Dye immediately noticed Whitman County was not on the list.

The omission prompted the lawmakers to send a joint letter to Inslee yesterday, asking him to add Whitman to the list of counties that can seek a variance from the governor's Proclamation 20-25, allowing them to reopen parts of their economies soon.

“We think the governor isn't using fair criteria to judge which counties can partially reopen their economies during his shutdown, especially in regards to Whitman County. We think Whitman should be allowed to partially reopen now, and Representatives Schmick and Dye and I wanted to let the governor know it,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville.

“Whitman County has two cases that are being monitored and staying home. All other cases have recovered. It makes no sense to close the county for two. The recovery numbers are not being published and I think they should be in every county. Our families, small businesses and employees want – and need – to get back to work. I trust our citizens to be smart, deliberate and thoughtful of others as we emerge from quarantine,” said Schmick, R-Colfax.

“We have had weeks to better understand the nature of the pandemic. It is self-evident that we must protect vulnerable elderly populations in assisted living and nursing homes,” said Dye, R-Pomeroy. “Our communities in Whitman County need to be freed from the governor's restrictions in order to save our rural hospitals and our rural economy. We are better able to respond to the virus when our communities are allowed to recover financially as well.”

The 10 counties that can partially reopen are Columbia, Ferry, Garfield (which is in the 9th District), Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kittitas, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Skamania and Wahkiakum.

The text of the 9th District legislators' letter to the governor is below:


Washington State House Republican Communications