Newhouse blasts Inslee over re-opening decision

Image Credit: The Office of Rep. Dan Newhouse

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Congressman Dan Newhouse, the U.S. Representative for Washington’s 4th congressional district, blasted Governor Jay Inslee over the state’s decision to keep South Central Washington closed.

During a press conference on Thursday, February 12, 2021, Gov. Inslee announced that seven of Washington’s eight regions met the criteria to move into Phase 2 of the re-opening process. The one region that was left out is Central Washington, which Rep. Newhouse represents.

In response, Rep. Newhouse released the following statement:

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, Governor Inslee has failed to lead our state based on clear facts and unambiguous scientific guidelines. He has shown no effort to understand the unique challenges of Central Washington, and his ever-changing metrics have unfairly targeted our region, despite the progress we have made.

In response to his baseless orders and restrictions being called out by members of his own party, he backtracked and moved their regions into Phase 2, leaving our rural region – which is already disproportionately disadvantaged – behind.

There is simply no scientific reason businesses following the safety guidance in opened areas are any more safe than Central Washington’s businesses following the same guidelines. These are real people’s lives and livelihoods at stake, and keeping us shuttered away – despite evidence of successful reopening in regions like ours across the country – is causing more long-term damage than he seems to care to realize.

Enough is enough. It is time our state legislators, local health boards, and health officials take the lead on implementing safety measures and monitoring for adjustments as needed. Governor Inslee has failed the people of Central Washington and lost all credibility.”

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The South Central region is comprised of six counties: Benton, Franklin, Yakima, Walla Walla, Kittitas and Columbia. Of the state’s 36 counties broken into eight regions, only these six counties will remain locked down until the COVID rates drop.

Gov. Inslee also moved the Phase 2 start date up by one day to accommodate restaurants hoping to open at 25% capacity in time for Valentine’s Day. That won’t be the case for the Tri-Cities, Yakima, Walla Walla, or any of the many cities under the umbrella of the South Central region.

Newhouse isn’t the only Washington state politician perturbed by the Governor’s decision. Senators, local officials and representatives of the region are speaking out about Gov. Inslee’s decision.

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