Although efficient vaccines have been extensively accessible all through the nation for many of final yr, the virus continues to disrupt society — notably with the emergence of the Omicron variant in current months.
The 5 governors — three Democrats and two Republicans — have every taken totally different approaches, and every acknowledged the evolving steadiness of weighing accessible choices with what constituents and elected officers will settle for.
Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, defended his refusal to institute a statewide masks mandate and famous that localities had been allowed to impose their very own guidelines. Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox likewise stood by his determination this month to exempt state services from native masks necessities at the same time as case numbers spike.
Cox mentioned he’s lengthy been a proponent of high-quality masks, however mentioned mandates haven’t confirmed adequate to curb case surges elsewhere and the main target ought to as an alternative be on different instruments.
“Everybody will get their flip within the prime 10 when it comes to Omicron,” Cox mentioned.
Cox mentioned hospitalizations is a extra essential metric for policymakers and well being officers to carefully monitor than uncooked case numbers. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, additionally a Republican, made an analogous level, noting that not all at-home checks are reported to the federal government — even when the outcomes are constructive — amongst different issues.
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Faculties are in a delicate place
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker mentioned it’s “vitally necessary” to maintain faculties open safely by means of public security measures corresponding to masking, testing and vaccinations.
“We all know we are able to maintain our faculties open,” mentioned Pritzker, a Democrat whose largest faculty district — Chicago — lately confronted a disaster over this very challenge.
Sununu mentioned the pandemic’s disruption to faculties, and society extra typically, has weighed closely on kids’s instructional improvement and well-being.
“The largest challenge with youngsters is psychological well being,” the GOP governor mentioned.
Climate issues an elevated emphasis
Democratic Hawaii Gov. David Ige mentioned his state has been on the “forefront” of climate change and resiliency points, notably given the archipelago’s “distinctive” scenario in the midst of the Pacific.
He touted his state’s dedication to transition completely to renewable power and set up a fee tasked with learning adaptation methods. Ige mentioned that if motion just isn’t taken within the coming years, it will necessitate placing much more drastic actions on the desk.
Cox mentioned his state, like different components of the West, have been wrestling with extreme droughts and water shortages.
The Utah governor mentioned he believes it will likely be necessary to attempt to fight the issue alongside a number of fronts — together with efforts to guarantee locations are “conserving water and storing water for future generations.”
Cox mentioned such preparations are notably wanted in fast-growing components of the area, in order to meet that demand whereas not stifling financial improvement.
Washington just isn’t a draw
Late final yr Sununu spurned a concerted campaign from nationwide Republicans to run for the Senate and as an alternative opted to search one other time period within the Harmony governor’s mansion. However he did make an attraction to term-limited GOP Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who faces comparable strain to mount a Senate bid, to contemplate the thought and mentioned the Senate can be higher total if it had extra former governors in its ranks.
Nonetheless, not one of the governors Friday expressed curiosity in any future runs for workplace.
“No I’d not,” Louisiana’s Edwards mentioned when requested if he would run for an additional place. “I have little interest in being in Washington, D.C., in elective workplace. … I look ahead to getting again within the personal sector.”
Pritzker, who’s up for reelection, deflected a query a couple of potential presidential campaign by saying he’s “targeted on being governor of Illinois.”