Freedom vs. safety: GOP and Democrats offer opposing pitches on COVID strategy

Essex Westford School District

THE DEMOCRAT PLAN: The Democrat Party will call for mandates for masks and shots when it comes to allowing Vermonters to engage with their peers.

Both the GOP and the Democratic Party in Vermont issued statements this week clarifying their stances on how to approach a new wave of COVID-19 and its variants, and the two major parties couldn’t be further apart.

The Republicans prioritize personal freedom and choice in regards to vaccination and mask wearing. The Democrats, in contrast, are taking a one-size-fits-all approach: they want mask-wearing and vaccination to be required or coerced for individuals to participate in life and commerce.

“Now at the start of a new school year, with infections in younger Vermonters rising, as well as breakthrough infections impacting the vaccinated, this is not the time to depart from listening to the experts and making the necessary health and safety decisions to keep our communities safe,” Democrat Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski wrote in a press release earlier this week.

Schools are the main political battleground for COVID policy at this point. Vaccination and mask policies are hot-button issues for schools, and the current recommendation from the governor’s office is that if schools don’t have 80 percent vaccination status, they should require masking for indoors.

Krowinski this week called for stronger restrictions in dealing with COVID for both schools and elsewhere. She also suggests that all Vermont state employees be required to take vaccines.

“We know that vaccines are our first and best strategy to prevent COVID hospitalizations and death, has the administration explored a vaccine requirement for all Vermont state employees and teachers?” she wrote.

On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Pattie McCoy, R-Poultney, issued a response to Krowinski’s message. She said Vermont has a history of strong individualism which should be respected.

“Speaker Krowinski also suggests Vermont should consider the imposition of a mask mandate, which would require the declaration of a state of emergency,” she wrote. “Vermont has long distinguished itself from other states in its rich tradition of individualism and local autonomy.”

She goes on to argue it’s a better strategy to let each individual establishment to set policies according to what the real threats look like in their own communities.

“Giving local areas the choice regarding mask policy as it relates to schools makes far more sense than a one-size-fits-all policy from Montpelier, especially at a time when cases vary wildly throughout regions of the state and overall cases are beginning to show signs of decline,” McCoy wrote.

Vermont GOP Chair Deb Billado also issued a tough response to Krowinski.

“Krowinski’s statement was filled with misleading information, baseless claims, and inherent contradictions that undermine the state’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all so Krowinski can engage in useless finger-pointing,” she wrote.

Earlier this year, the GOP passed a resolution formally disapproving of the use of vaccine mandates in Vermont. The strong majority of deaths from COVID-19 in Vermont continue to be among the elderly, usually among individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

A new government report from the United Kingdom shows that more than two-thirds of the deaths by the new Delta variant of COVID-19 are among the vaccinated. The report, covering February through August of this year, found that the UK had 742 Delta-variant deaths — of these, 402 were fully vaccinated, 79 had one shot, and 253 (65 percent) were unvaccinated.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Essex Westford School District

4 thoughts on “Freedom vs. safety: GOP and Democrats offer opposing pitches on COVID strategy

  1. All this for a flu cough there is a 99.9% recovery rate from, and people die from these diseases, so far this year, MORE than this flu…

    Leading Causes of Death

    Data are for the U.S.
    Number of deaths for leading causes of death

    Heart disease: 659,041
    Cancer: 599,601
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 173,040
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 156,979
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 150,005
    Alzheimer’s disease: 121,499
    Diabetes: 87,647
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 51,565
    Influenza and pneumonia: 49,783
    Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,511

    The numbers do not support ANY of this scamdemic.
    If this were truly about caring about our health, we would not be being given advice from the snakeoil salesmen (Fauci, Gates) who benefit from us believing their ‘wolf, wolf’ cries…

    I’ll go with the facts thank you. I’m pretty sure a number for suicides that nearly matches those from a flu…IS a problem.

  2. This jab is not designed to keep you from getting or spreading covid. It’s what is really causing these variants. Use some common sense. The REAL science tells you masks dont work. The CDC also told you this. It will not keep out smoke particles. Viruses are much smaller. How about we stop playing God and let him take care of this. Let natural immunity do its job. Yes, unfortunately people are dying from covid. They are also dying from this jab. The death rate does not justify what government is doing. Forcing medications and medical devices on us is wrong in so many ways. Please do your own research, dont believe everything the CDC tells you. The truth is out there. Phil Scott is not using real science, he is only following flip flop Fauci.

  3. The best and wisest strategy is to FOLLOW OUR LEADERS! That’s what they were elected to do as leaders…show the way…..lead. And if they aren’t wearing masks you KNOW there is no danger. Why? Because they are narcissists….you think they are going to hurt themselves? Not a chance! Do What They Do…..Not What They Say….and you will be fine.

  4. So, this really is a disease of political opportunity. It has been used as a weapon by the left since March of 2020- to secure elections, instill fear and division between classes, political ideologies and races.
    Nancy Pelosi is giddy, Kamala Harris cackles and we pay the cost of their greed.
    As politicians continue to use this disease for their own means, the death count keeps growing.

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