The following is a paid political letter.
We must work together to fight virus
To the editor:
We need to come together as a county and fight this pandemic as a team.
I have played basketball since the 3rd grade but being 4-foot-11, I was forced to be a pass-first point guard. Passing the ball didn’t always get the crowd up on their feet, but it won games. Team sports have played a fundamental role in my development as a leader — as an athlete, a local business owner, and now as a candidate for Riley County Commission, District 2.
Teams lose when there is a lack of fortitude to take on responsibility. Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, but a single player doesn’t win Super Bowls. The team wins them. Coach Andy Reid made the brilliant call to go for it on 4th-and-1, which would eventually lead to the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Our community is hurting. People are sick, suffering from unemployment, and stressed from the uncertainty.
The outbreak in the Blue Valley USD 384 District Office is evidence that the rural portions of our county are not insulated from COVID-19. Seven people have tested positive in the district office so far, and we can only wait to see its impact on the surrounding areas. I have been meeting with county officials and leaders these last two months, and several have expressed disappointment in the County Commission for their lack of leadership when it comes to the mask mandate. To protect our community and save our local economy, they need help from the county government to implement responsible practices in their local jurisdictions.
There are some mask exemptions in which rural Riley County would fall under, i.e., farmers working in their fields. But for residents who are working in close quarters like the Blue Valley USD 384 District Office, the adoption of a mask ordinance, in conjunction with social distancing, could have likely prevented an outbreak.
Our hospital only has four ventilators for a population of 75,000 residents. With inadequate access to healthcare in Northern Riley County, it may take an ambulance up to 45 minutes to arrive, which can be the difference between life and death for COVID patients with severe complications. And we have not yet even addressed the financial burden of hospital bills on families if they receive a COVID diagnosis, on top of our already struggling economy.
So I must ask. Why is the County Commission willing to take risks with our lives? Why does the County Commission lack the courage to do what is right for our whole community? Why are they neglecting their responsibilities and expecting someone else to pick up their slack? We need courage, unity, and teamwork if we are going to keep our community healthy and our economy open.
I have been at the forefront of holding our County Commission accountable throughout this pandemic — from combatting blatant racism to advocating for equality and urging our leaders to implement a mask mandate to keep our community safe. These are the actions we need from our leaders. Riley County, we can do this together. Our future is here.
candidate for Riley County Commission District 2