By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Former lieutenant governor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch at a rally this week called on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to sue the federal government to stop President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
That’s about as likely to happen as Evers showing up at a pro-life rally.
Last month, Biden announced the mandate which, when implemented, will require businesses with 100 or more employees to get the shot or get weekly tests. The mandate, expected to take effect once the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) delivers its final review, will likely impact two-thirds of the U.S. workforce.
The administration can expect instantaneous lawsuits.
Biden’s big government overreach has been derided by conservatives as an unconstitutional edict and an assault on individual liberties. Evers, the Biden Lite of Wisconsin, has been mostly mum about the national mandate. He has issued his own mandate for state employees, requiring they get the vaccine or get tested weekly.
“In the middle of a worker shortage in the state of Wisconsin, Tony Evers has been absolutely silent on Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate that targets our friends and our neighbors across Wisconsin,” said Kleefisch, who served as lieutenant governor during Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s two terms in office. “That is why I am calling upon Governor Tony Evers to stand up to his buddy Joe Biden, sue the federal government, and put a stop to this assault on Wisconsin workers.”
Kleefisch spoke at a press conference in Eau Claire. She was joined by Derrick Van Orden, Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, local elected officials and community members.
“Tony Evers is absolutely happy to sit down with Joe Biden and have ice cream. Now, I think Tony Evers needs to stand up to Joe Biden against the bullying of the leftists on the far side of his party,” Kleefisch said, adding that, “as governor,” she would sue the federal government to stop any unconstitutional vaccine mandate that forces Wisconsin workers to choose between a shot and their job.
Kleefisch and small business owner Jonathan Wichmann are the two most prominent Republicans to date to declare their candidacy for governor, in a bid to unseat incumbent first-termer Evers.
Frontline health care and public safety workers opposed to mandatory vaccines have made headlines nationally for resisting. As Wisconsin Spotlight reported, more than 100 Gundersen Health System workers and supporters last week turned out for a rally against the La Crosse-based health provider’s looming vaccine order.
A couple days before, more than 100 people turned out for a protest against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate at Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire. Nurse Melissa Clyde, who quit over the mandate, told WEAU she attended the rally to support her peers and called the mandate ‘unacceptable.’
“I feel like harm’s being placed on our healthcare workers right now,” Clyde said. “And it’s not a choice. They’re being mandated, so it’s not a choice at this point, and that’s unacceptable.”
On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) joined several Republican colleagues in introducing the Keeping Our Covid-19 Heroes Employed Act “to save essential workers from being fired due to President Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandate.”
The senators note that in August, the U.S. economy had 10.4 million open jobs. As shortages hit stores and communities struggle to recover, the Biden administration announced a sweeping plan that would force countless Americans to be fired, the lawmakers said.
“Well before President Biden’s ill-advised and divisive vaccine mandate, I had been hearing from doctors, nurses, first responders, and others facing the life-altering decision of having to choose between losing their job or being coerced into taking a vaccine,” Johnson said. “We are already suffering severe worker shortages throughout our economy, especially in health care. Vaccine mandates will increase these shortages and degrade our health care system.”
Kleefisch, a cancer survivor, reiterated that she got the COVID-19 vaccine upon consultation with her family and health care providers. She said it was the right choice for her.
“But what I do not believe is that government should tell anyone what is the right health care choice for you,” she said.