When we started this journey a month ago, I issued a statement regarding COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. We as the Legislature, and I as chairman of Public Health in the State House of Representatives, urged people to take precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones and the public as a whole.
God has heard our prayers. I want to congratulate Governor Stitt and President Trump in flattening the curve and saving countless lives while not infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights. While in this time of national disaster, President Trump stood vigilant for the constitutional rights of the American people. Governor Stitt stood beside him. As the Public Health chairman, I am very thankful and humbled that Oklahomans rallied together and decided to heed these warnings to flatten the curve of infections.
Questioning government has always been an essential part of our republic and I am thankful that I am not alone in that sentiment. I am gravely concerned that some municipalities have usurped the suggestions from the president, the governor and the CDC, and instituted practices that have far exceeded their recommendations.
This has resulted in tyrannical practices by some municipalities. I would warn those municipalities against infringing on people’s constitutional rights. Across the country, we have witnessed churches being forced to close, businesses being bankrupted and people being arrested for playing with their children at a park, as well as other infringements of our rights.
As a nation, we have faced many times of turmoil in our history. Government should always hold our Constitution and Bill of Rights in the highest regard. This is what has always and will continue to separate us from authoritarian regimes. Those before us paid such a heavy price to afford us these rights and we will not relinquish them.
I believe it is time to put our economy back on track and let Oklahomans go back to work. I further believe we can accomplish this while still using common sense social distancing practices. I hope the Legislature can lead by example and get back to work at the Capitol for our constituents in May. When this is all over, I hope we can look back and be proud of our actions in this time of trial.