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You Asked: What do Boise City Council candidates think of mask & vaccination mandates?

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COVID-19 and how local governments should address the spread of the disease remains a hot political topic.

Currently, the City of Boise has a mask mandate for anyone working inside or visiting city facilities. Instead of a vaccine mandate, the City of Boise opted for a cash incentive program and an educational campaign to encourage vaccination.

We asked all of the Boise City Council candidates their stance on this issue and listed their responses. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Every candidate except City Council President Pro Tem Lisa Sanchez answered this question via email and we included their written response in full. Sanchez talked with BoiseDev via phone.

Seat 1

  • David Jones could not be reached for media interviews.
  • Laura Metzler: “I appreciate that the city has a mask mandate for city employees and for visitors at citybuildings. People should be able to conductcity business and interact with citystaff and each other without fear of getting sick. I am vaccinated, and I wear my mask indoors in public places. Sadly, leaving the choice up to the individual isn’t workingwell and has put our healthcare system in crisis mode. Common sense tells me that if we want a strong economy, quality education for students, employmentopportunities, housing security, and the ability to enjoy all the things that make this city special, we need to start with a healthy community. We only have two weapons in our arsenal to combat this deadly virus, and that is a vaccine and a mask.”
  • Luci Willits: “I do not support a general mask mandate in the city of Boise.Cities operate similar to businesses, if city employees get sick, then taxpayers cannot be served. Therefore, I think it is appropriate to require masks indoors when in city buildings to protect city employees. While I am vaccinated, I do not support requiring the COVID vaccine as a condition of employment for Boise City employees.”

Seat 3

  • Nicholas Domeny: “I believe that a mask mandate for all Government buildings is good and fair. There are people out there that need to enter these buildings that are immune compromised and it makes it safer for them.When it comes to the vaccine, it is the same thing. We have to make sure that all the facilities are as safe as possible for everyone.”
  • Greg MacMillan: “I am a businessman, not a doctor. I do believe the city’s position works for everyone and makes sense. I am pro-vaccine, but I don’t believe that it is the role of the city government to make health decisions on the behalf of our employees and I am open to mask mandates as recommended by our health officials.”
  • Lisa Sanchez: “I am in support of a mask mandate and a vaccine mandate for city staff. The mandates that have been put in place do include religious and medical exemptions and I would support that. If the numbers continue as they are, and they’re dire, I think that’s what we have to do. I’m thinking about the most vunerable members of our community. I’m thinking about children. They’re the ones who are bearing the brunt of the adults not acting in unison in their best interest. Whether it’s them getting infected or having their education impacted and I think we’ve heard reports of how their mental health is being adversly affected by this limbo we’re in. I think there is going to be a whole generation of our kids that will have to bear the results of us not taking action in unison to put their needs before anyone else’s…Bodily autonomy is 100% where I am at, but in this case people having bodily autonomy puts other lives at risk. Innocent lives at risk.”
  • Maria Santa Cruz-Cernik: “What I have told people is to do you.  No one else knows better than you, what’s best for you. I am not opposed to people volunteering to get the Jab, it’s their tough to do whatever.  Having said that,  it is also the same right that they don’t.  It’s a personal choice.  I am a stickler when it comes to rules, Laws and Protocols.  More importantly,  the Constitution and the Bible. God gave us Free Will to do as we do choose. That to me  takes precedence over any mandate that was given by our President without first going through the proper channels. Meaning to say, it has not passed through Congress nor does he have the Authority to demand this of businesses. I’ve been in business long enough to know that without proper Documentation, accurate and consistent proof of data that supports the claim of what constitutes a Pandemic, it would be dead in the water.  Furthermore,  to date,  there still isn’t a criteria in which one can determine a certain virus be the cause  for our country to be in a state of emergency.  For example,  in order to have a state of emergency due to virus the ratio of death must supercede the number of recovery.  Let’s say the death rate should be worse than the recovery rate, right?  As it is the recovery rate is 97% of those who get Covid recover. That leaves only 3%  who get sick die. Most with underlining conditions.  Consider being in a court room and evidence keeps changing.  Data, inconsistent with reports, false positives,  inconclusive reports of origin,  the dismissal of possible  cures like  the hydroquinone.  (A vaccine cannot be funded if there are other known cures) With all these discrepancies presented in court, there world be a mistrial in conclusion.  If we adhere to our Constitution,  we would not be in this situation.   Our Freedoms cannot be compromised.  We have more free will from God than we do from our government and they are not above God.”

Seat 5

  • Katie Fite: “Yes, masks should be required. It’s difficult for everybody to navigate this situation. We must protect public health and safety. Unvaccinated employees in City Departments shouldn’t work in situations where they interface with the public. Unvaccinated staff should have regular COVID tests, and self isolate in the event of a positive test. Exceptions should be for people who have physician-certified reasons.”  
  • Crispin Gravatt: “I believe in following the science when it comes to public health. We are guaranteed life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in this country, and I believe we should guarantee them in that order. This means that we must ensure that all people are guaranteed their life and health through effective policies, so we can all exercise our liberties and pursue whatever brings us happiness. If we do not enact effective public health measures, including masking and vaccinations, all of us suffer in our ability to exercise freedom and pursue happiness. I support masking policies, and would support a vaccination requirement for city employees, so that we can all get on with our lives. These measures are safe and effective, and are ways we can get back to doing what we do best- tackling our other big problems together.”
  • Steve Madden: “I do not support mask or vaccine mandates for city employees.”
  • Holli Woodings: “For months we’ve had mask mandates in all city facilities and are encouraging our residents, including city employees, to do all they can to support our healthcare workers by minimizing the spread of COVID-19. There are three ways doctors are asking us to do this: vaccines, masking, and regular testing. We all want to get back to normal, and for us to do that as a city we will continue to encourage employees to get vaccinated. If they choose not to, I support regular testing for those who need to work in person or with the public while community spread of COVID-19 is high.”

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Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at margaret@boisedev.com or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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