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Governor: Take safety serious or resign

Joshua Sauvageau, Minot

Governor Burgum – you out of touch, Stanford-educated, elitist billionaire – it is time for you to take the safety of North Dakotans seriously, or resign.

To the utter shock and dismay of yours truly, you were re-elected. Being a ND native, I understand the political tendencies of the state, but the voters here made a grave error.

From Bismarck (where I was born), you announced that COVID-positive healthcare workers should stay on the job! That’s right, you said COVID-positive healthcare workers should go to work and ostensibly spread the virus around a little bit more, maybe re-infect those who are starting to recover, certainly endanger their peers who are not yet positive. Elsewhere in the country, we are told to stay home if we feel sick.

Minot, where I graduated from high school and where many of my friends still reside, made the front page of the New York Times Thursday. The magic city now has the dubious distinction of having the MOST recent COVID cases per capita of any metro area in the country. Magic, indeed.

Fargo, where I enlisted in the Navy, where my mother, father, aunts and uncles live (in their mid-70s and with comorbidities) and where my sister is a healthcare worker, has no room for more patients in their hospitals. I haven’t been able to visit them since last winter when this pandemic started. Haven’t been able to hug my mom, dad, sister, or nephew.

As of Thursday, ND currently “boasts” 170 cases per 100,000 people. That is number one in the nation. Good job! Next on the list is your crackerjack neighbor to the south, with 148 cases per 100,000.

North Dakota remains one of only a handful of states whose governor (that’s you, I guess, though I’m not sure exactly *what* you’re governing) has yet to mandate mask-wearing, because, as you have said repeatedly, you’re relying on each individual’s “personal responsibility” to do so.

“Personal responsibility”? What’s next, rescind DUI laws, because it’s each drunk driver’s “personal responsibility” to hand over his keys after a night of debauchery? I would say, “good luck with that,” but this is too precious, too personal. You are putting the lives of my fellow North Dakotans, my friends, my family, in danger through your stubborn and reckless refusal to act.

It is time for you to put the safety of your constituents first – or resign, effective immediately. North Dakotans deserve better. They deserve to live.

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