DENVER — Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley is backpedaling from his idea to withhold hospital beds from Weld County residents because Republican commissioners there ignore health guidelines.
In a statement Wednesday, Bagley said his intention was to shine light on what is happening in Weld County, and his proposal came from a place of concern for people in Longmont, which straddles Boulder and Weld Counties.
"...now that people are aware of how Weld County’s decisions are affecting people in Longmont, I will not pursue an ordinance or denial of healthcare. My desire is to work with Weld County to ensure they comply with the lawful emergency orders so that we can all move forward in a positive and responsible manner," the mayor wrote.
His statement came one day after suggesting Longmont hospitals should reserve space for patients from counties that follow Colorado's statewide COVID-19 regulations. Weld County commissioners and the sheriff have said they will not enforce the state's Level Red COVID rules, which include shutting down indoor dining rooms in restaurants.
The Colorado Hospital Association said in response that hospitals will continue to treat all patients they can, regardless of politics.
Read Bagley's entire statement below:
As elected officials, we have a responsibility to the people who elected us and to the laws of the land. We take on the responsibility (and occasionally, the notoriety) of our office in the solemn oath to “support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Colorado, the laws of the State of Colorado,” as well as the local laws of our municipalities and counties. During a public health crisis such as the one we are facing on a global scale with COVID-19, the state’s public health orders carry the force of law, and we are therefore beholden by our oaths to uphold them. That is our job.
When I called out our neighboring county and its elected officials for publicly refusing to enforce the law, I did so out of concern for all of Longmont’s residents who are impacted by the poor decisions of some individuals and the public officials who are failing to do their duty to uphold the laws that are being put in place to protect us all, regardless of party loyalty, political conviction, or county of residence.
Longmont is a better city for its diversity and the inclusion of portions of two counties within its municipal boundary. My comments were not intended to exclude any of our residents, but rather to shine a light on the importance of acting in a unified way to protect our healthcare systems, and to keep our community healthy and our businesses open.
I also felt it incumbent upon me to shine a light on how one group’s refusal to act in the public interest impacts us all, and to compel my fellow elected officials to examine how we can do better to keep our word to our electors and our office.
Now that I have succeeded in bringing this issue to light, and now that people are aware of how Weld County’s decisions are affecting people in Longmont, I will not pursue an ordinance or denial of healthcare. My desire is to work with Weld County to ensure they comply with the lawful emergency orders so that we can all move forward in a positive and responsible manner. I will be discussing this matter with my fellow council members next week to explore solutions. And I will continue to advocate that we all respect, apply, and enforce the laws of the state of Colorado – regardless of which side of County Line Road we reside on — and that we collectively support the efforts of our public health agencies to protect lives and livelihoods in our cities, counties, state, and beyond.
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