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Being Responsive To Constituents

After West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced last week that gymnasiums, health clubs, tanning bed businesses and whitewater rafting outfitters could reopen, he was asked whether his decisions are being made in response to public pressure. “That is absolutely, 180 degrees wrong,” he replied to a reporter. “I am not going to do that.”

“There’s no chance your governor is going to do something … from the standpoint of political pressure,” Justice added.

We would hope not. But what on earth is wrong with responding to pressure from the public?

Justice had held off on allowing some businesses to reopen, out of concern linked to the COVID-19 epidemic. He emphasized last week’s decision was made in consultation with the medical community.

But the governor also told reporters, “I never dreamed in all my life that we’d (receive) all these calls in regard to the tanning business or tanning beds.”

Justice is not the only governor to heed the voice of the people. You may recall that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, in allowing retail stores to reopen, at first said customers would have to wear face masks. After hearing public outcry, he backed away from that mandate.

Neither DeWine nor Justice was slow to shut down wide swaths of our economy, when the science indicated that had to be done. Clearly, they are listening to the experts — and should stick to their guns on that.

If they can maintain that stance and be responsive to their constituents, more power to them.

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