Brian Westrate of the Eau Claire County Republican Party wrote this to Republican legislators:
For 20 years I have soldiered along as a volunteer fighting in the trenches with you all. Now is the time I implore you all to step up and limit the damage Evers is doing to our state. Has anyone proposed holding a joint session to rescind Ever’s powers to shut down most of the state without running it by the legislature? Do you all really think its a good idea for one guy to be able to wave his hand and destroy the lifeblood of our economy all across this state? Near as I’ve been able to tell this was a power granted to the Governor by a bill first in the early 80s (DHS authority) and then in 2009 (state of emergency authority). That which has been granted by the legislature can be rescinded by the legislature.
At this point that’s my biggest complaint, not necessarily that what’s being done is being done but that I’m not hearing anyone from the legislature out there asking, “Woa there, is this really the best way to go?” For goodness sake the CDC even suggested that schools only be closed down if they had a known case in the community or a neighboring community. By that standard the majority of schools in the state would be open. Why was Evers allowed to shut down all schools without a fight from anyone else in government? And even if the legislature didn’t try to stop him, how come I have not heard of a press conference where somebody, anybody called him out for doing more than was recommended by the CDC, the very people we are all supposed to be listening to?
If allowing most districts to be open but closing others would run afoul of some regulation or other (as I’m sure it would), then either you guys pass a temporary bill, or encourage Evers to wave his magic wand and allow the regulation to be ignored.
And now he’s limiting day care capacity!
Where will this madness end? What, if anything are you all going to do anything if he orders a general quarantine and tells us we can’t leave our homes?
I am on many of the Republican legislator’s email lists and so far I’ve only received the same pat language all politicians are using. “This is tough on us all, we’ll get through this, just do what you’re told. Here are some links where you can get more information that will have no impact on the fact that you’ll lose your job and won’t make rent this month, but hey, you’ll know the number of active cases and be reminded to wash your hands.”
As I say, I value you all as friends and as legislators. I can only imagine the stress you are all under, but in this time of crisis I am far more concerned with the stress your constituents are under.
I know you’ll probably be excoriated in the press if you question dear dictator Evers, and I know you don’t have a veto proof majority, but honestly folks if you don’t do something to fight back against this over-reach then I think we may risk the majority, never mind earning a veto-proof majority. Its better to have tried and failed than not tried at all, and who knows maybe enough Democrats will join you and we can bring Evers to heel.
If some of you have already taken action, then please accept my apologies and my gratitude. I know some of you probably agree wholeheartedly with Evers, to you please know that I can agreed to disagree. But to everybody else, please for the love of Wisconsin stand up and be counted! Now is the time to lead, now is the time to act, now is the time to use your position and influence. The people of Wisconsin need you now more than ever.
I hope I’ve earned the right to say these things to you without damaging whatever relationship we have. I figure if I don’t say my piece in a time such as this, then I should probably just always stay silent.
Rick Esenberg adds about the 10-person limit:
I think the coronavirus is quite serious but [Tuesday’s] order from Tony Evers coming a mere 24 hours after a much less stringent order has more than a whiff of panic. Maybe panic is in order but the Governor has an obligation to explain why. If it’s OK to be in a retail establishment where people are not within arm’s length of one another for more than ten minutes than why can’t a restaurant be open if patrons are kept more than six feet apart? Why were gatherings of 50 acceptable yesterday but not today? What did the Governor learn that caused him to change his mind? It can’t be evidence of “community transmission” because only a fool would have though that wasn’t happening yesterday. I am not saying he’s wrong but what he did today is going to destroy a lot of small businesses and wreak havoc for many families. That doesn’t mean it’s the wrong call – I think some substantial economic harm is unavoidable – but he has a moral obligation to explain himself. He hasn’t done it.