“If I am elected governor, the state of Connecticut will never mandate the COVID vaccine for schoolchildren, public or private employees, or anyone else for that matter,” Connecticut GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski said Thursday in a press statement.
I was clear in my words this morning; when I am Governor, the state of CT will not mandate the Covid vaccine for anyone.
The Governor needs to be transparent on where he stands; does he support forcing the vaccine on the people of CT? pic.twitter.com/NcshDIenpw
— Bob Stefanowski (@bobforgovernor) October 20, 2022
“It’s time that we start allowing actual science – not political science – to inform how we approach public health decisions,” Stefanowski added. “I challenge Governor Lamont to make this same pledge to the people of our state.”
Stefanowski’s statement came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advisory immunization committee voted unanimously last week to add COVID shots to the routine children and adolescent immunization schedule, a move that could likely lead a number of states to require COVID shots for school attendance.
The Republican candidate’s comments also followed his announcement in September of a “Parental Bill of Rights” that he is proposing to empower Connecticut parents to make education and healthcare decisions for their children.
Our “Parental Bill of Rights” for Connecticut parents and schoolchildren is aimed to empower parents to make decisions for their children, bolster quality education, and invest more state resources in healthier and safer schools. pic.twitter.com/n9UJMdppY3
— Bob Stefanowski (@bobforgovernor) September 6, 2022
“The CDC and Gov. Lamont said a lot of things, and then later changed their minds and public health recommendations over the last several years,” Stefanowski spokesperson Sarah Clark told Hearst media via email Thursday. “Bob Stefanowski is simply making it crystal clear where he stands.”
Incumbent Governor Ned Lamont’s (D) campaign spokesman Jake Lewis also told Hearst media Stefanowski’s statement reflects “continuing his dangerous anti-science rhetoric that relies on misinformation, while courting and pandering to the extreme anti-vaccine movement to save his flailing campaign.”
A recent CT Examiner poll, however, showed Stefanowski is not “flailing,” but that the governor’s race is tightening with Lamont leading the Republican 46-40 percent, with 5 percent favoring Independent Party candidate Rob Hotaling, and 10 percent undecided.
Of the respondents, 46 percent said Connecticut was headed in the right direction, 51 percent said the state was on the wrong track, and 4 percent did not know.
The survey’s findings suggest a significantly closer race than presented by the Quinnipiac University poll results, released mid-September, which excluded Independent candidate Hotaling, and found the Democrats leading by double digits in both the governor’s and U.S. Senate races.
In April 2021, Lamont signed a bill into law that eliminates a religious exemption from childhood immunization requirements for schools, colleges, and daycare facilities.
Over 2,000 Connecticut residents rallied outside the state Capitol as the legislation was being debated, accusing its proponents of infringing upon their constitutional right to religious freedom and their parental rights.
Lamont also said in 2021 that he would consider giving school districts the option of making the decision to mandate COVID shots for school children.
“I’m certainly open to school districts having that authority,” Lamont said at the time. “My hunch is the state will have to be working with the superintendents, but we’re not there yet.”
The Democrat governor also signed an executive order mandating all Connecticut state employees and staff of all childcare facilities and preK-12 schools statewide to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Those who qualified for exemptions were required to test for COVID-19 weekly.
Clark reportedly said as well that Stefanowski “supports research-based, data-supported science, not the politicized opinions of government officials or the constantly varying advice from the CDC.”
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