ONTARIO, Ore. – The politician who represents a large swath of Eastern and Southern Oregon is calling on the governor to end the statewide shutdown.
Republican Cliff Bentz represents Oregon’s 2nd congressional district. On Monday, he issued a statement calling on Governor Kate Brown to end re-instituted COVID-19 restrictions.
U.S. Representative Bentz said the following:
“In the normal course, as a United States Representative, I would not enter debates regarding state-level politics. However, the Governor’s most recent response to the COVID-19 situation is not only historically broad in impact, but an action that causes far more serious damage than benefit. Additionally, in recent days, the Oregon Health Authority actually invited public input from Oregon’s congressional delegation.
“Governor Kate Brown’s decision to again lockdown huge parts of Oregon has caused incredible frustration for many in my district, and I share their frustration. In a recent letter by Governor Brown, she commended Oregonians for helping make our state “among the lowest COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths in the nation,” to which she gave credit in “large part to the actions of Oregonians to take seriously the health and safety measures.” And indeed, today, nearly 70 percent of Oregon’s older population is fully vaccinated and many communities across our state were well on their way to safely returning to some sort of normal. However, Governor Brown has now done completely the opposite of many other states: imposing yet another lockdown.
“Sadly, Governor Brown’s proposed $20 million safety net for those harmed by this most recent lockdown is woefully inadequate for those Oregon businesses struggling to survive. I believe Oregon must reopen and stay open. The reinstatement of the Governor’s shutdown solution will do more harm than good to our loved ones, communities, and our state – especially as risk drops with an ever increasing number of Oregonians being vaccinated. I am calling upon Governor Brown to reverse this unfortunate decision and focus her attention instead on vaccinations and making sure that COVID aid sent to Oregon by the Federal Government be quickly allocated to those in need.”
In the wake of renewed restrictions, Governor Brown said, “As we are facing widespread cases, driven by new, more contagious variants, I was presented with data showing two paths Oregon could take: One in which we took no additional action and stood by while more people die from this disease, and another that required a temporary tightening of restrictions for certain counties but could save hundreds of lives and prevent as many as 450 hospitalizations over the next three weeks. As your Governor, I chose to save lives.”
The governor also stated that “we should be able to lift restrictions statewide and return to a sense of normalcy no later than the end of June.