OPINION

Decisions about your health belong in your hands

Rep. Pat Proctor
Rep. Pat Proctor

I have gotten an unprecedented number of calls and emails in response to President Biden’s announcement last week that he will use the Department of Labor to enforce a vaccine mandate on most American workers. I share your outrage with this shocking, extraconstitutional edict and wanted to let you know what your Legislature is doing about it.

I am not anti-mask or anti-vaccine. I am anti-mandate. I am fighting to keep decisions about your health and the health of your family in your hands, where they belong. 

Every decision that your government makes that effects your life should be governed by two very simple principles. First, these decisions should be made by elected officials, accountable to you at the ballot box, not by unelected bureaucrats. In the case of masks and vaccines, the role of unelected health officials is to provide you with the best facts so that you can make those decisions for yourself, not to make those decisions for you.

Second, every decision that government makes that effects your life should be subject to checks and balances. This is why this vaccine mandate from the Biden administration is particularly egregious. It is an executive order pronounced by fiat by the president rather than a law passed by Congress, the branch entrusted by our Constitution with that authority. 

The Kansas Legislature is standing against this attack on your rights. Last week, I joined 75 of my fellow representatives and 28 state senators in signing on to a letter sent to President Biden, expressing Kansans’ rejection of his unconstitutional edict. 

This letter is only the start. Kansas State Attorney General Derek Schmidt has announced that he will oppose the president’s vaccine mandate in court. Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a law prohibiting the Kansas state government from issuing or requiring vaccine passports. And the leadership of the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate are considering further steps to defend the rights of Kansans.

I have spoken in person to the speaker of the House, Ron Ryckman, and expressed my willingness to return to Topeka for a special session and I will vote enthusiastically to convene a special session if it is called.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether businesses will comply with the president’s order to enforce a vaccine mandate. And it remains to be seen whether the courts will overturn this tyrannical order before it even goes into effect.

What is not in doubt is that the Constitution of the United States, a document that I risked my life for 25 years as a soldier to support and defend and that I have taken an oath to continue to support as your state representative, does not grant the president, let alone the Department of Labor, the power to force you to undergo a medical procedure against your will.

It is an honor to serve you as your state representative in Topeka. I will, as I have done throughout this pandemic, as a candidate and then as your elected representative, continue to fight to protect your inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Rep. Pat Proctor represents District 41 in the Kansas House of Representatives.