Tri-Cities mayors ‘disappointed’ in Gov. Inslee’s phase decision

KENNEWICK, Wash. – A day after Governor Jay Inslee decided to keep the South Central Region in phase one of reopening, local mayors have shared their disappointment.

Kennewick Mayor Don Britain believes it’s time to take another look at the two-week, metrics system that determines reopening. Mayor Britain said instead of just two weeks, the system should look at 30 days worth of data. While he can’t speak for all the counties in the region, he knows locally, we’ve been doing a great job of following mandates and keeping cases low.

“Facts and science have to be used more than 14 day increments. We need to have a 30 day review because I’m confident in Benton and Franklin counties that we’ve met three if not four of those metrics,” he said.

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Mayor Britain said there’s also been a lack of communication from the Governor’s office. He and other mayors, like Mayor Saul Martinez and Mayor Ryan Lukson ,wish they could be a part of the reopening conversation.

During his press conference on Thursday, Inslee said he’s open to criticisms and speaking with leaders in the South Central region.

“We’ll talk to them we’ll see if there’s ways we can help but I do hope people reporting this story realize we just opened up 92 percent of the state of Washington,” Governor Inslee said.

“We’ve been adamant about having us have a place at the table as he’s making these decisions and it just hasn’t been that way,” Pasco Mayor Martinez added.

READ MORE: South Central Region held back as state moves into Phase Two 

“My biggest frustration through the process is the lack of collaboration with the governor, the complete lack of transparency over what the goals are, what the metrics are, seeing the change every week. The positive lining is the amount of success that we’ve had in our mass vaccination clinic. I know it’s kind of the model around the state but I am encouraged by that and I think that our numbers are going to start going down and I’m at least hopeful in the next couple of weeks we’ll move onto the next phase,” Mayor Lukson said.

Mayor Martinez said he’s very concerned for local businesses as we remain in phase one.

He knows of many Pasco businesses that have closed their doors until the pandemic ends but have tried to keep up with mortgage and insurance. Mayor Martinez hopes the state will send more financial assistance to this area if we have to stay in phase one even longer.