As Walz Encourages Students Get Vaccinated, Senate Republicans Spread Misinformation Threatening In-Person Learning
This week, Governor Tim Walz encouraged students 12 and up to get vaccinated as they return to in-person learning.
Despite knowing that the way to protect against COVID-19 is getting vaccinated and wearing masks, Minnesota Senate Republicans, as recently as last week, were protesting masks and vaccinations. The spread of misinformation has created vaccine hesitancy and discouraged mask use which threatens the ability of students to return to school in person.
DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement:
“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flannagan, students across Minnesota were able to start their school year in person. The Walz Administration worked hard to ensure our students would be safe, could receive a quality education, and would be able to get back to the classroom despite the challenges COVID-19 presented.
“Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have spent the last year and a half downplaying the virus, working against public health officials, and spreading misinformation about vaccinations and masks. If we want students to be able to stay in school and learn safely we must remain vigilant against the misinformation campaign the Republicans are fueling. The greatest threat to students being back in the classroom are Minnesota Senate Republicans.”
- During a speech to a crowd protesting vaccine and mask mandates, GOP State Sen. Jim Abeler threatened to oust Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, who has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
- State Sen. Michelle Benson, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, spread misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, including challenging the need for vaccinations and testing
- On October 19th, 2020, former Senate Majority Leader, Paul Gazelka pushed for Minnesota to completely reopen and advocated for eliminating all state safety measures. This plan to reopen the state and eliminate COVID-19 precautions came right before Minnesota’s largest surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths to date.
- The Senate GOP set a terrible example for Minnesotans by holding a 100+ person, maskless dinner for Senate Republicans, resulting in a COVID-19 outbreak. As the virus spread, Senate GOP refused to notify their DFL colleagues and a GOP State Senator Jerry Relph passed away as a result of the virus.
- Elected GOP officials used their personal and official Republican Senate media channels on Facebook to spread misinformation about the vaccine, claiming it was dangerous.