Del. Rick Impallaria: Gov. Hogan has failed small business, public school students during COVID-19 crisis | COMMENTARY
Feb 11, 2021 at 8:52 AM
One of a series of weekly commentaries from Harford County state legislators regarding the 2021 Maryland General Assembly session.
I know that we are all struggling due to the current health crisis. How much of this crisis is real and how much is just hype? Only time will tell.
Many states and many places in the world are back to business as usual, seeing very little difference in results as compared to places that decided to shut down and deprive many of us of our constitutional freedoms.
The top three issues having to do with the current medical crisis are the closing of schools, the closing of businesses and the handling of the COVID crisis in Maryland.
Gov. Larry Hogan has picked winners and losers for business since Day 1, crushing small businesses that we will never see again while large corporate giants such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target have been allowed to flourish.
Our public schools have been closed, leaving behind many children unable to deal with virtual learning, while private schools have been totally opened with no reports of COVID outbreaks. The Governor has let down those who cannot afford private schools.
While we knew early on that COVID had broken out in Washington State, primarily in senior facilities, in Maryland nothing was done to safeguard our seniors, driving the death rate higher than need be. During this entire time the Maryland General Assembly was shut down, never called into special session. So all these past woes, such as the dismal performance of the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance, falls fully on the Governor and his inability to rapidly respond to the needs of our citizens.
In no way should this be considered a personal attack, but just a statement of the reality of the situation we find ourselves in.
So, how do we fix some of these problems?
First, the Governor needs to immediately sign an executive order reopening schools. Yes, he has the power to do this. And the citizens of Harford County have a right to a fully elected school board which will be totally answerable to the voters. It is disgraceful that after one year there is still no plan for how to reopen our schools, which is clearly the responsibility of the superintendent and the school board.
That is why I have put forward legislation for a fully elected school board, so that citizens will be able to remove members who have failed them, and the board can remove a superintendent if they deem it necessary.
Second, with regard to business and unemployment, the Governor needs to replace the Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson, to stop picking winners and losers, and to let all businesses open as has been done in, for example, Florida. Until that occurs both businesses and individuals will continue to lose financially. And government will demand more taxes from people without jobs in order to fix the problems which government has created.
Lastly, with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine, people have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to receive the vaccine. At the top of the eligibility list should be the elderly, those with underlying health issues, and of course our teachers, so that we can get our kids back to school as quickly as possible.