March 2021 Letter to Governor Inslee

Whitman County Democrats
PO Box 772
Pullman, WA 99163

March 1, 2021

The Honorable Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 4002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Dear Governor Inslee,

Whitman County Democrats are pleased with the movement of Whitman County, as part of
the eight-county East region, to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington Road to Recovery. We
particularly thank your office for making the difficult decisions that enabled the entire state to
achieve this phase of recovery.

Recent data posted by the Whitman County Health Department indicates that we will soon meet the metrics for Phase 3. We respectfully request that Whitman County be allowed to move to Phase 3 if it qualifies independently of the East region as a whole.

The grounds for making this request are Whitman County’s unique character and the factual
data that govern the Healthy Washington response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In support of
this request, we urge consideration of the special circumstances outlined below:

1) Whitman County met the required metrics for its present Phase 2 status well ahead of the East region as a whole–and especially before Spokane County, the large population of
which dominates the statistical data determining our eight-county region’s phase status. We
are confident our county will do so again as we work to achieve Phase 3 metrics.

2) Whitman County is fortunate to have the medical resources, means, and discipline—thanks to the county’s Public Health Department, Washington State University, Pullman Regional and Whitman County Hospitals, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, remarkably efficient vaccination sites, and engaged business and professional communities—that ensure it can independently maintain the metrics of Phase 3 while continuing to aid other communities in the East region as they respond to the pandemic;

3) Because our large student population shrinks dramatically each summer, Whitman County’s many small businesses—especially its restaurant, entertainment, fitness, childcare, and related supply services–would particularly suffer if movement to Phase 3 were earned but delayed because the region as a whole had not yet satisfied the required metrical standards. Unnecessarily restricting Whitman County’s attainment of Phase 3 status because other counties lag behind would only multiply the negative effects of our typical summer-
earnings downturn.

Please consider making such independent phase classifications
available to all counties within other multi-county COVID-19 regions. While few may be as
likely as Whitman County to satisfy the required standards ahead of their regions, the incentive
to do so would obviously be enhanced by the opportunity provided.

We are asking support for this request from other responsible groups in this county, and will
gladly discuss it with your office in detail.

Debbie McNeil, Chair
Whitman County Democrats

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