Protecting the people's house and the decision processes that occur within it is not a partisan issue; it is a bipartisan civic responsibility.
You are well aware of, and have experienced, the uncivil, challenging, and threatening behavior exhibited in the people's house during the special legislative session which is a direct assault on our political processes and deliberations. It would be foolish to assume that this behavior will not return to the halls of the Statehouse during the 2021 legislative session. There should be no excuse for, nor tolerance of, that behavior. I would expect that, in your positions of leadership, you will be working now to prepare to manage the upcoming session so that a recurrence of this behavior does not happen; but if it does, is stopped quickly in its tracks. The people's house should be the home for civil discourse, strong debate, and respect for each other and our great state. All people should feel safe, welcome, and respected in the people's house, and, of course, must honor and treat each other similarly. You have the authority to create a safe place for democracy to thrive. The people need to know clearly the rules of our house and the consequences of non-compliance. I am certain that you would not want a situation where civil, engaged citizens choose not to enter the Statehouse because of the unruly, threatening behavior of a few. That is not how our democracy should work.
In addition, allowing such a blatant disregard for all of the public health precautions regarding masks and social distancing totally undermined all the messages from physicians, hospitals, and public health organizations on how to control the spread of the virus. The real message from that session was, "don't worry, be happy, Covid is no big deal, no need to mask or social distance". Essentially the efforts of the Department of Health and Welfare and the seven Health Districts and most health care professionals were totally unheeded and unsupported.
There must be room for, and we have a right to non-violent, non-destructive, non threatening, civil protest. We don't have an unfettered right to what happened last week. Over twenty of our friends have endorsed this letter.
We need to do better. It is your responsibility as our political leaders to maintain the order to make that happen.
Stephen Weeg and Nancy Greco,