Several major Idaho employers have recently expressed their intention to terminate any employees who make certain personal health decisions. This idea — discriminating against and firing employees based on private and personal health decisions — flies in the face of the principles of liberty and justice.
On July 9, I sent a letter to legislative leadership requesting they take up this issue and consider how best to protect Idahoans from being forced to choose between keeping their job and taking an experimental injection that violates their conscience.
At 9:00 AM on July 15, I held a press conference in the Lincoln Auditorium of the Idaho Capitol to address the issue of vaccine mandates in Idaho.
I reminded people that the vaccine is now readily available and anyone who wants it can get it. Those who choose to get the vaccine are not facing discrimination or termination. Operation Warp Speed was a major accomplishment for the Trump administration. They were able to produce a vaccine in record time, and more than 160 million Americans are now fully vaccinated.
According to the most recent data, however, just under 37% of Idahoans are fully vaccinated, and I believe that those who have made the personal medical choice NOT to take this vaccine deserve to have their decisions respected.
At the press conference, I called on Idaho hospitals to drop their vaccine mandates and sit down with stakeholders to discuss the issues.
Following the press conference, hundreds of Idahoans — including many healthcare workers — rallied outside the Capitol in favor of medical freedom. Some carried signs with the hashtag #stopthemandate while others offered fiery speeches in defense of personal liberty.
Later that day, the Idaho Senate Majority Caucus issued a letter echoing my call, asking for "business leaders, the Governor's ofﬁce, and our colleagues in House leadership to join the Senate in a series of meetings to ﬁnd solutions that will protect the employees, patients, and the viability of our healthcare systems in Idaho."
I remain hopeful that the hospitals will come to the table and that all employers contemplating vaccine mandates will reconsider. We are already dealing with a labor shortage in Idaho and firing thousands of Idahoans for their personal medical decisions will only make matters worth.
I remain committed to protecting individual liberty and encouraging open and honest discussion about Idahoans' concerns and the solutions necessary to address them.
Luck Peak State Park Tour
On Friday, July 18, I was given a tour of Lucky Peak State Park. Thank you to the amazing employees at the Department of Parks and Recreation for the tour and for all the hard work they do. They take great pride in caring for our beautiful resources here in Idaho so that families can enjoy.