County legislative resolutions of interest

OSWEGO COUNTY – In a symbolic show carrying no legal weight, the County Legislature voted overwhelming in opposition to governmental COVID mandates of any kind Oct. 14.

Cheers went up from the public in attendance a number of times as legislators rose to speak in favor of the resolution and in opposition “to any COVID-19 vaccine mandates and any other similar legislation, order, ordinance, or regulation by any local, state, or federal government that affects a citizen’s rights to make their own health care choices.”

The resolution further stated, “the government should have no role to play in mandating COVID-19 vaccinations,” an opinion somewhat in sync with that of Charise Wills, a member of the public, who stood before the assembled legislators to say:

“I’m not really understanding what changed in our country, why this isn’t kept to be a private decision between us and our physicians. It shouldn’t have to go beyond that. What happened to our freedoms, our rights, and our privacy? I just don’t understand. There are a lot of people that are afraid, afraid of the virus, afraid of the vaccine, shots, anything. People have all sorts of fears. I’m not responsible for your fears, and I’m not responsible for your health. And I don’t think it’s right for us to put that on anyone. It’s done nothing but create difficulty in relationships at work, with family, friends, communities. It’s torn people apart. People have been very mean to each other over all of this. What we have to remember is our health is our responsibility. I can’t ask you to be responsible for my health. That’s just ridiculous. We need to be responsible and take responsibility for our own health, our choices, and we need to do what’s best for us. No one knows what we go through, what our medical history is, what allergies we have. There are lots of reasons why people wear masks, why people don’t wear masks, why people take shots or medicines, and why people don’t. There are reasons on both sides, and because of that, it should be left up to the individual. It should be kept private, and it doesn’t need to go further than that. We shouldn’t be afraid to live next to each other. I’m not responsible for your fear. I’m sorry someone’s afraid. People are afraid of all sorts of things. There’s Triple E, Lyme disease, heart attacks. Life is a risk. Getting out of bed every day is a risk. You could break your neck. You could get hit by a car. A plane could crash and kill you. A lot of these things have happened recently. They’ve been on the news. So, we need to choose for ourselves how we’re going to live. If you want to live in fear, if you want to blame others, that’s your responsibility. That’s your problem. If you want to be brave and go on living, then be brave and go on living. Stop blaming others for how you feel and your struggles. That’s not fair to anyone. I just ask that in our prayer today, it gave me hope that we will keep praying, seek His will, provide for our community, protect our freedoms and rights that He’s given us.”

Legislator Thomas Drumm stood to offer an opposing view:

“I’m incredibly disappointed but not surprised to see this resolution before the Legislature this afternoon. It seems this body has made its decision to ignore common sense…I’m disappointed to play into this political football…Local government should stick to the facts and science. Seven hundred thousand dead nationally, 100 of our neighbors in Oswego County lost, 500-plus new COVID positives in the last week, which completely bucks the national trend of decline, and we’re deciding that this is the resolution that we need to focus on today. Shame on us. Shame on us…In closing, I’d like to thank the Oswego County Health Department and apologize to them this is what we’re focusing on. Today we should be focusing on resolutions that encourage each eligible citizen to receive their boosters. Instead, we focus on this political football. With that being said Mr. Chairman, I shall oppose this resolution and ask for a roll call vote.”

Legislator Nathan Emmons stood to read the Declaration of Independence and followed it with these remarks to considerable applause:

“We have not a responsibility, we have an obligation as this body to say no to any mandate that violates this very declaration and our Constitution. We have an absolute right, as our forefathers said, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Mandates are a violation of that liberty. I commend this legislature for standing up. I would encourage every employer, every citizen, to start using the word no when it comes to these mandates. They are unconstitutional, and they are a violation of our absolute liberty. We as a country believed in that liberty at one point. We need to believe in it again. To live in our society, it is a risk/reward proposition. Liberty is risky. It is riskier than other forms of government. As Americans, we have to balance that risk. We have to defend our freedom. Freedom is the absolute cornerstone of our society, and we need to stand up as a legislature to defend it.”

Legislator Terry Wilbur:

“I stand for that Constitution. I stand for the flag. And I will be supporting this resolution opposing this mandate because I think it is wrong.” More applause.

At that point a roll call vote was called. Only Democrats Thomas Drumm and Marie Schadt, along with the sole Republican James Karasek, voted against the resolution. It passed 20-3 with two legislators absent.

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