Commentary: Governor’s Vaccination and Mask Mandates Trample Washingtonians’ Personal Rights, Should Be Rescinded

By Sen. John Braun, Rep. Ed Orcutt and Rep. Peter Abbarno
Posted 8/11/21

There is no doubt the issue dominating the news and our email inboxes is the governor’s recent vaccination mandate, issued on Aug. 9. We share the concern many constituents in the 20th …

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Commentary: Governor’s Vaccination and Mask Mandates Trample Washingtonians’ Personal Rights, Should Be Rescinded


There is no doubt the issue dominating the news and our email inboxes is the governor’s recent vaccination mandate, issued on Aug. 9. We share the concern many constituents in the 20th Legislative District, and beyond, have expressed. We do not support the governor’s mandate conditioning the employment for most state employees and health care workers on being fully vaccinated.

The governor’s COVID-19 transmission concerns must be weighed and balanced by the health concerns from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine reported by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as well as personal, health and religious considerations. To not respect individual rights and neglect personal choice regarding medical decisions is leadership in a vacuum.

Many in our community have chosen to get vaccinated. Others contracted COVID-19 and have recovered, so they do not need the vaccine to provide immunity. Still others have made the conscious decision to forego the vaccine due to personal choice, health-related complications or religious belief. The personal decision to vaccinate, or not, is a decision that takes a considerable amount of thought. Above all else, the decision is personal and should not be mandated by the governor.

One only needs to watch television or listen to radio for a few minutes to see an advertisement for the vaccine. In that same minute, it is likely one will see an advertisement for any number of medications and their long list of side effects. You might even see an advertisement from a law firm informing patients of their rights and the potential for monetary compensation, if they took a certain medication and suffered adverse side effects — medications that went through years of research, testing, trials and attained FDA approval. For these reasons, we believe there are few people left in Washington state that have not already weighed the potential benefits and harms of the COVID-19 vaccination. That is what makes this mandate so dangerous to the free will of Washingtonians.

We are also concerned by the ease of which this mandate could be expanded to those employees outside of state government and the health care field. The vaccination mandate is overly broad and does not allow for alternatives but considers only one. It pits one’s strongly-held belief and medical choice against their ability to support themselves and family. We strongly believe the governor’s ultimatum is heavy-handed, unfair and unwise.

The extent by which the governor is exercising his emergency power is beyond the scope of its intent. Unfortunately, the courts have not reined in the governor’s power, and his majority party in the Legislature has stood aside in silent consent — a reminder of the governor’s monopolization of power and the lack of balance in Olympia.

Our delegation in the 20th Legislative District, and our Republican caucuses in the House and Senate, will remain steadfast in fighting for your rights and freedoms. We believe the governor’s vaccination mandate, as well as his mandatory mask mandates for school children, are fraught with problems and contradict statements and actions his administration has previously indicated were based on science and data. We ask that the governor to rescind his recent mandates, step outside his echo chamber and respect the individual and personal rights and freedoms of every Washingtonian.


Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, serves as Senate Republican leader. Sen. Braun, Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, and Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, represent the 20th Legislative District.



6 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Erland

    Sen. John Braun, Rep. Ed Orcutt and Rep. Peter Abbarno are all victims to two viruses - The virus of ignorance and the virus of political discord.

    Trumpism in America has functioned as a massive super spreader event for these two horrific viruses. Trump operates on the premise of feeding and breeding ignorance while preaching and pushing the concept of political discord; Trumps strategy from the get-go. Clearly his strategy has played out well, as it has permeated our local political environment and filtered down to the "freedom" loving Lewis County residents who have taken on the battle cry of "Don't Comply" and treat people with a different opinion as a dangerous enemy wanting to steal away their "individual" rights; which really brings political discord into the everyday lives of us all.

    I would argue the viruses of ignorance and political discord are even worse than COVID itself, because the viruses "mutate" in their hosts. The viruses latch on to the belief systems of their hosts and modify the very brain patterns of the hosts in order to build fear, paranoia, distrust, disdain, an overinflated sense of self, overall inconsiderate behavior and hate. This impacts many aspects of life outside of COVID for a lifetime.

    The path our local leaders are taking is a dangerous and selfish path indeed. In the short term; people will die as a result of their abhorrent leadership by example and their misleading words. For the long term - their words and actions are driving discord and division and they destroy the very fabric of our Democracy and our "freedom".

    Sen. John Braun, Rep. Ed Orcutt and Rep. Peter Abbarno, Sheriff Rob Snaza and County Commissioner Sean Swope are nothing but ignorant - politically motivated short sited opportunists that let themselves get caught up in the big lie that they ignoantly perpetuate.

    I am disgusted by all of them.

    Thursday, August 12, 2021 Report this

  • Grandma

    I stand with you!

    I am afraid to get the vaccine and am afraid not to. When our supposed leaders mandate we all should become human experiments, we are all compromised. It doesn't just affect those that aren't vaccinated. We all have loved ones and friends who choose their own path to their own health. So, the result will be, more resentment, more hate, more segregation, and MORE MANDATES.


    It's good that you pointed out all these "Big Pharma" commercials that promise relief of symptoms, and/or possibly even a cure. I have noticed the "up tick" of Psoriasis ads. That is because many people are inflicted (myself included) and the focus is on a long-term treatment, not a cure, and certainly not finding the cause. Psoriasis is another immune disease among the huge variety already existing in our country. A lot of people suffer from these immunocompromising diseases. How will the vaccine affect the immune system in years to come? Possibly, in the same way Covid affects us, or maybe worse. We don't really know and we can't really know, because science has become a one-sided and controlled collection of information. We dare not question anything, lest we become the Enemy, the Unvaccinated, even the Killers.

    We all rely on the collection, promotion, and collaborative challenges of new ideas. That is science! When selected voices of scientific minds are suppressed, we no longer have a science we can rely on. We have control over our thoughts, opinions, and even our lives.

    Despite your view on vaccination, science, and yes, politics, we ALL suffer the consequences of our current administrators current decisions. Along with, whatever shall come of those choices which were taken from all of us.

    My humble advice is for everyone to pick up and study the US Constitution/Bill of Rights, study the Rule of Law, and please study these definitions in our US dictionary. Definitions like, Tyranny, Communism, Marxism, Segregation..... Humanity, Love, and FREEDOM.

    Thursday, August 12, 2021 Report this

  • Grandma

    Dear Truth,

    You speak of freedom and democracy in the same breath you speak of compliance and trust in government. I view this as a oxymoron in the most hypocritical way. Our freedoms are being stripped away by a one-sided administration. The question is not, "Why are some people rebelling against these regulations?", The question is "Why are voices suppressed to begin with?". This country has always run on the premise that a better idea will come of a good idea. More importantly, a bad idea will be cured with the diverse collection of ALL ideas.

    Suppression of diverse opinion halts the very existence of science!

    Thursday, August 12, 2021 Report this

  • sixtoecalico


    Do you wear a seatbelt?

    Thursday, August 12, 2021 Report this

  • LLHauer

    Gentlemen, did you include the reference to using the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to try to bolster the credibility of your arguments with the idea that you’re using scientific data to draw your conclusions? You may be disappointed to know I visited the VAERS site and actually examined that data for myself. I pulled the report on adverse effects from all covid-19 vaccines for Washington state for all of this year. The total count, which spans reported symptoms ranging from dizziness to death, was 110 adverse events for the entire state for all of 2021.

    On the WA Dept. of Health Covid-19 data dashboard, here are the stats for how many total vaccinations have been administered in Washington:

    4,615,206 people with at least one dose (4,464,811 IIS + 150,395 DoD and VA)

    6,529,327 (Population 12 and older, 2020 Office of Financial Management estimates)

    So, there were 110 reported adverse effects out of 6.5 million vaccinations administered.

    Based on this data, a Washingtonian had a 0.000016 chance of having an adverse effect to any of the covid-19 vaccines. Rather than being an argument AGAINST taking the vaccine based on health risks, the results of VAERS data would indicate a powerful argument FOR the safety of vaccination.

    Basically, you’re citing a reference to data that supports the opposite of what you’re arguing for. And provides strong evidence that these vaccines appear to be extremely safe.

    I would also ask that you define more specifically what you mean when you use the words “rights” and “freedoms.” These have become just buzz words. What personal freedoms are being so grievously hindered that we should refrain from taking active measures with proven effectiveness against an ongoing pandemic? Please tell me where you see the balance of preserving individual rights, freedoms and liberties against preserving the well being of the many. This is a fair debate to have, in fact a necessary one right now. But so far all I’m hearing from Republican voices is encouragement toward an anarchistic obsession with individual liberties without any acknowledgement at all that a healthy democracy depends on maintaining the common good.

    Friday, August 13, 2021 Report this

  • Grandma

    LL Haur,

    With respect, I don't think all the data was reported. Nonetheless, fear of being vaccinated is a real issue and a personal decision.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2021 Report this