Wyoming Lawmaker Calls on Gordon to Reopen Schools and Businesses

Gillette legislator Scott Clem argued that the Governor Gordon's orders are an infringement upon individual liberties and may do more damage than the disease itself.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

April 01, 20203 min read

Scott clem
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Gillette legislator Scott Clem took to Facebook on Tuesday to ask Governor Gordon to reconsider his recent mandates closing schools and some businesses to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Clem argued that the orders are an infringement upon individual liberties and may do more damage than the disease itself.

“We need a clear path forward and, shutting down the economy and halting civil liberties for the next 4-8 weeks isn’t it,” Clem wrote on his Facebook page.

“The ‘cure,’ as it’s disengenuously [sic] called, is doing more damage than the disease,” he wrote.

In an email to Gordon, Clem said he didn’t want the virus to take any lives in the state but there is a balance that needed to be considered.

“We must consider that lives are also damaged or even lost by our present efforts to slow the spread,” he wrote. 

“Forced business closures and self-isolation will result in permanently lost jobs, bankruptcies, suicides, increased mental health conditions, increased crime, loss of liberty, a decrease in government revenues, an increase in utilization of government resources, and an increase in domestic disputes among others,” the legislator said.

Clem suggested Gordon change course stating that he didn’t see the governor’s “end-game.”

“I am suggesting you develop plans to send people back to work and back to school, while directing state resources to bolster our medical community as we deal with the influx of those who need care,” he wrote.

At a press conference on Monday hosted by the governor, Wyoming Medical Society President David Wheeler disagreed with the governor’s reluctance to issue more restrictive orders.

“We hope that we don’t wait until the ERs are full of gasping people because by then it’s too late,” he said. “A shelter in place, we won’t avoid catastrophe if we don’t get ahead of it. Every municipality that (hasn’t issued an order), they wait too long, you lose two times as many people as you would’ve.”

In a series of tweets to her 10 million followers on Tuesday, progressive TV news host Rachel Maddow quoted from a Casper Star-Tribune article illustrating the differences between Wheeler and Gordon at that press conference.

“If we don’t act now, it’s certain we’ll use up available supplies in weeks,” said the head of the Wyoming Medical Society. He spoke after Gordon and urged that the governor adopt the very order Gordon had just expressed opposition to,” Maddow tweeted.

Clem said the state should consider a special session to address the issue. 

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter