During a press conference announcing his lawsuit with police officers and firefighters against the city of Phoenix over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was asked by Arizona’s Family political editor Dennis Welch whether he was vaccinated. His press secretary waved the question off as “inappropriate.”
However, Brnovich, who is running for U.S. Senate, responded, “Do you have an STD?” After a brief pause with some laughter from those present, he went on, “It’s not a ridiculous question. The question should be, once you allow or cede this authority to the federal government, where does it stop? And my own health information is my own health information.”
Bryan Willingham, a Phoenix firefighter and executive vice president of the United Phoenix Firefighters Association, expressed his concern over the loss of manpower.
“The community cannot lose these individuals. They can’t,” Willingham said. “We cannot survive the staffing crisis if we lose these members.”
Yvette Bro, vice president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, said, “We had a survey a few months ago, and it was overwhelming, we had over 600 members that said they would leave if they were forced to get the vaccine.”
According to America Pack, over the last 10 years, the number of Phoenix police officers has declined from 3,300 to 2,700 — even though Phoenix was the fastest growing city in the country in the last 10 years. There are currently 831 patrol officers, with 200 positions unfilled, and those numbers are about to drop even more, by a few hundred.
After the mandate was announced on November 18, Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio demanded that the mayor and city council hold a vote to reconsider the mandate, which was implemented by the Phoenix City Manager Jeff Barton. He was joined shortly afterward by fellow council members Ann O’Brien and Jim Waring. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego agreed to hold a vote, scheduling it for December 7.
O’Brien issued a statement denouncing the mandate and calling for members of the public to weigh in prior to the vote.
“As I’ve already said, this federal mandate regarding vaccinations for Phoenix employees is a complete overreach of the federal government,” she said. “This mandate is incredibly problematic because of its negative effects on city staffing and how it will affect the way city services are delivered to our community — particularly with our police officers and firefighters.”
The Biden administration’s COVID-19 mandate is currently under litigation in various courts around the country. Earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals put a stay on the requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers. Brnovich was the first person in the country to sue the Biden administration over the applicability to federal employees and contractors, and later sued over the applicability to large businesses.
The Phoenix-based research firm OH Predictive Insights released a poll Tuesday which showed Brnovich leading in the primary race for U.S. Senate with 27% among registered Republican voters in Arizona. Former Arizona National Guard leader Mick McGuire was in second with 12%, followed by tech billionaire Peter Thiel’s COO Blake Masters at 9%, Fortune 500 CEO Jim Lamon at 5%, and Arizona Corporation Commissioner Justin Olson at 2%.
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