The Weekender (12/4/20)
Welcome to the Democratic Governors Association’s Friday newsletter, The Weekender.
Before we get started, we’d like to congratulate New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as the new Chair of the DGA for 2021, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper as Vice Chair and Chair-Elect for 2021 and Chair in 2022, and outgoing DGA Chair New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who has been chosen to serve as the new DGA Finance Chair for 2021.
Let’s get started.
Virginia: During an address on Facebook, GOP candidate for governor Amanda Chase gave an astonishing speech riddled with falsehoods and conspiracy theories about COVID-19, adding to the Virginia GOP’s record of downplaying the deadly pandemic. As COVID-19 hospitalizations reach record levels in Virginia and across the country, Chase’s and Virginia Republicans’ rhetoric and false claims are downright dangerous.
Chase has held maskless, indoor campaign events, refused to wear a mask to protect others, and supported protests against Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 mitigation measures meant to slow the spread of the virus and save lives. Chase’s Republican opponent, Kirk Cox, has also criticized Gov. Northam’s COVID-19 mitigation measures. The two GOP candidates are in a race to the far right – one that could be hazardous to public health.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Plans to Provide Zero Dollars In Pandemic Relief to Iowans
While Democratic governors are allocating state funds for pandemic relief, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is refusing to help her constituents. Reynolds announced that she is not planning to use any state funds for pandemic relief – hoarding $305.5 million in the state’s general fund and more than $770 million in cash reserves.
Throughout the pandemic, Reynolds has consistently shown how little she cares about Iowans. Rather than using CARES Act funds to help essential workers and directly respond to the pandemic, Reynolds paid a company friendly with her team to install a new software system and lined the pockets of her staff. Reynolds was warned by the State Auditor that the no-bid software contract was a misuse of the federal pandemic relief funds.
Reynolds also awarded millions of dollars in no-bid contracts for PPE to a Republican donor, who was later charged with felony assault for brutally beating a woman.
As Reynolds focuses on rewarding her political allies, Iowans are in desperate need of assistance. Reynolds refused to implement a mask mandate until last month when coronavirus cases spiraled out of control in the state, and she forced schools to open without enough funding for PPE, testing, and contact tracing.
Dem Govs Get It Done: While Republicans Stall on COVID-19 Stimulus At Federal Level, Democratic Governors Usher In Relief
The Trump administration and Senate Republicans have blocked the HEROES Act and stalled on other forms of COVID-19 relief – leaving American families and businesses in both red and blue states suffering the devastating impacts of the pandemic.
In the absence of assistance from the federal government, Democratic governors across the country have once again stepped up to lead during this crisis, taking action on COVID-19 relief at the state level. Here are some examples:
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called a special session of the legislature on November 19th, working with lawmakers to take action on small business relief, child care support, housing and direct rental assistance, increasing broadband access, food insecurity, utilities assistance, and public health.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed a $100 million COVID-19 relief plan on November 25th, asking state lawmakers to pass the proposal when they return to work in December. In her letter to the legislature’s Republican leadership, Gov. Whitmer asked them to permanently extend longer-lasting unemployment benefits, provide financial support to small businesses, and pass legislation requiring masks in public.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced last week that he would like to call for a special session in early December to approve a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package. Gov. Walz hopes to allocate money for small business grant programs, to extend unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks, and to send $500 payments to low-income families.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced an additional $60 million in small business aid to replenish a grant program. The additional funds will provide grants to 13,000 New Jersey businesses to help them through the pandemic.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a $330 million aid package on November 25th, providing cash to unemployed workers, small businesses and low-income families. The aid package was the result of a one-day special session called by the governor.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package in May, providing nearly $1.6 billion to support North Carolinians during the pandemic. The bills provided funding for health care, COVID-19 research and testing, food banks, and rural broadband.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers proposed a $541 million COVID-19 relief package on November 17th to the Republican state legislature. Gov. Evers’ proposal would make unemployment insurance more accessible, forbid evictions, and waive school assessments through the end of next year.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Fox News Sunday, talking about how a federal stimulus would allow states to do a lot more right now and asking Americans to keep their guard up heading into the winter.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, discussing her plan to keep cases down in New Mexico, the void in federal leadership, and the Biden transition.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on CNBC’s Squawk Box, explaining his state’s post-Thanksgiving strategy.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on CNN Newsroom, sharing his experience with COVID-19 after testing positive for the virus.
“It is unconscionable for him to continue to spread lies and sow distrust at a time when all Americans should be united during this historic public health crisis.”
- Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak calling out President Trump for spreading lies and promoting dangerous rhetoric around the pandemic.
“I’m opposed to mandates, period. I don’t think they work.”
Who said it? Send your answer to email@example.com and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!