Good afternoon and thank you all for joining me.
Our nation is facing an unprecedented crisis. COVID-19 has brought this country to a standstill, and our families are struggling to adapt to a virus more deadly and contagious than any we have seen since the Spanish Flu. Make no mistake, we are in the middle of a pandemic.
Governor Reynolds and Senator Ernst, I am demanding today, on behalf of front line workers everywhere, that you take action by putting lives ahead of the profits of Tyson, Smithfield, and JBS and require all workers be issued PPE, a safe working space…... guarantee Paid Sick Leave, provide universal testing for EVERY employee and issue a shelter in place order TODAY, and Senator Ernst - enact an Emergency Basic Income of $2,000 per month for every Iowan.
Iowans rely on all levels of government to help keep them safe - but our ‘leaders’ were unprepared for this crisis. There is no evidence of a crisis response plan coordinated between Governor Reynolds, our Senate delegation, or Mr. Trump.
Every business owner understands - you plan for the worst, and hope for the best. Regrettably, it has been an underperformance from Governor Reynolds and Senators Ernst and Grassley.
Where other state leaders have stepped up to the plate, ours have simply buried their heads in the sand, it seems, more eager to curry favor with Donald Trump and Tyson Foods than protecting vulnerable Iowans. Now, our great state is making national news for having the 3rd highest percent increase in coronavirus cases in the last week.
Iowa is one of 5 states across this country that has a governor who has refused to execute a shelter in place order. Yesterday, more Iowans died, and 482 tested positive for COVID-19.
Joni Ernst, who has represented Iowans on Trump’s task force to reopen the American economy, has stated she believes we could reopen our state as soon as next month; just 9 days from now. Today, 7 more Iowans died, and 107 tested positive COVID-19.
Governor Reynolds, Senator Ernst, the lives of Iowans are on the line.
We need your honesty - to provide us with an accurate picture of just how desperate this crisis is, instead of downplaying the need for public action.
We need your leadership - to fight for Iowans in the Senate and at the Governor’s mansion, to ensure every man woman and child in this state is safe, will have access to COVID testing, and most importantly, receive the healthcare they need.
Senator Ernst - I implore you to pass the House COVID relief bill. Do not allow Mitch McConnel to hold Americans hostage with partisanship. Pass paid family and sick leave, and ensure every dime from any future aid goes to Americans in need, not corporate greed.
Governor Reynolds - It is time to take action. Issue a shelter in place order. Issue clear, highly restrictive guidelines to prevent unnecessary business activity that puts Iowans at risk. Require and help provide top-level PPE for all of the essential workers and healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this crisis.
We have seen the state and federal government fail to act on this crisis with the urgency it deserves for weeks. So, Governor Reynolds, Senator Ernst, I am asking you both to decide today, what is more important, Tyson, Smithfield and JBS profits, or the life of an Iowan?