Good Leaders Provide Answers

The measure of a good leader is not based on increments of how often you agree with their policies. The measure of a good leader is by how often you can question their reasoning and intent behind decisions and receive answers that are good for the many–not the few. 

This administration has consistently demonstrated that you cannot question decisions, and you will not receive a clear answer, if any answer at all.

This is Representative Kathy Javner, of Chester, with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. 

The Maine House Republicans have certainly questioned many decisions made by the administration and often never receive responses. House Republican Leader Kathleen Dillingham is still waiting for a written response regarding the Governor’s implementation of the vaccine mandate where it pertains to first responders. Specifically, surrounding volunteers and those that share the same work building with those who are licensed paramedics. 

I agree with Leader Dillingham, before implementing this mandate the administration should have waited for clear guidance from the federal government rather than fumble through without the willingness to provide written guidance when asked.

Since March of 2020, the Governor, and her Maine CDC director, have made countless decisions that have had immediate negative impacts on many. Who are the many? The many is you. It is you who work in our hospitals and long-term care facilities; it is you who owns a small business; it is you who is a private contractor; it is you who has children in public schools; and it is you who is paying for the consequences of government overreach. It is you who could lose your job if you are not vaccinated. It is you who is ostracized by your community and government officials if you do not hold the same belief system as the Governor. It is you who is a victim of poor policy and poor leadership. 

The Governor’s decision-making process code is fairly simple. She has picked ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ throughout this entire pandemic. 

If you are a healthcare worker who has worked through the entire pandemic, even when a vaccine for COVID-19 was not available, and you have now made the personal decision to not be inoculated, the Governor has deemed you a loser who is now too selfish to care for Mainers in need. Those Mainers in need are the same you previously risked your own life to care for.

Inmates at our county jails and prisons remain unvaccinated but our correction officers still must meet their needs while they are incarcerated for state crimes.  Many of which have not received any additional hazard pay from their county governments. 

Currently, the Cumberland County Jail declared an emergency amid a COVID-19 outbreak and a staffing shortage. In that specific crisis, only about 50 percent of the inmates are vaccinated. Why does the Governor hold a different safety standard for our corrections officers, when it comes to their welfare, while performing their duties related to people who are incarcerated? 

This is all while our hospitals are facing reductions in services because they do not have enough staff, which has been further exacerbated by the Governor’s vaccination mandate. Mainers are losing access to healthcare because the Governor won’t allow for a testing option to keep beds open.  

It’s been three weeks since we began talking about how the Governor has added to the crisis facing our healthcare systems. Finally, this week, Governor Mills announced she plans to spend $14 million dollars starting in the winter.  That money has been delayed so that the Governor can ensure 40 percent of the money is spent on union labor.  Our healthcare systems could use that money now but instead Governor Mills would rather choose unions over getting the necessary resources to our healthcare providers. 

That $14 million dollars is a drop in the bucket of what is needed. At the start of September, Governor Mills announced she would be providing a $146 million in funding to recruit and retain vaccinated workers in the wake of her vaccine mandate. This funding is a direct recognition of the problems the mandate would create. 

Is further stressing a workforce shortage good for Maine when the reality on the ground requires flexibility? The Governor remains inflexible despite knowing the situation at hand. How is that good for those seeking medical care? How is it good policy to force working people out of a job? As deemed by the Governor: Unvaccinated First Responders and healthcare providers are the losers. 

In our schools, the Governor has co-opted school nurses, making them do contact tracing on behalf of the Maine CDC. This has cost school districts thousands of hours in nurse’s time away from the job they are hired and paid by local tax dollars to do.  She has chosen to use local resources to do the job of the state CDC, and it has been a largely unseen stress on our health services, as our invaluable school nurses try to meet the demands of their actual jobs as well as doing the job of the Maine CDC. 

Back in February, the Governor threatened to tax the Paycheck Protection Program which were forgivable loans for small-businesses. That was completely contrary to what the program was designed to do. It wasn’t an opportunity for the government to make money, it was designed to provide much-needed relief and income to hard-working Mainers. 

Republicans worked to return $150 million in direct tax relief payments up to $300 for over 500,000 Maine tax filers. It was the end result of a Republican attempt to provide the same $10,200 state income tax exemption, provided to unemployed Mainers, to those who worked during the pandemic.  This could have been up to $300 million in returning tax dollars to the Maine people but it was met with push back from the administration and members of the legislative majority. 

Maine has received $14 billion from the federal government in COVID-19 relief, which is equivalent to two biennial budgets. Where has that money gone? To support ongoing Democratic projects with one-time funds, that will later have to be addressed with taxpayer funds. As deemed by the Governor: Maine taxpayers are the losers.

Contrary to what the administration and the media want you to believe, the Governor has not been consistent in her reasoning behind countless decisions she has made. The Governor has not taken ownership for any negative consequences her policies have caused or fueled. Her excuse is that there were previous problems and the issues Maine faces are not a direct reflection of her overreach and inconsistent decision making. 

That is not good leadership. That is the absence of leadership. Leaders do not decide who is a ‘winner’ and who is a ‘loser’. It is up to you to decide what category you believe the Governor has designated for you.

This has been Representative Kathy Javner with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. 

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