Pocan chastises Assembly GOP mask-optional policy after filming pro-mask ad with Vos

By: - December 30, 2020 11:09 am
Mark Pocan and Robin Vos in a Stop the COVID Spread! advertisement.

Mark Pocan and Robin Vos in a Stop the COVID Spread! advertisement.

Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Black Earth) blasted Assembly leadership for its decision not to require masks for the inauguration and first meeting of the body on Jan. 4. 

An email from Assembly Speaker Pro-Tem Tyler August that laid out arrangements for the ceremony and meeting that encouraged — but did not mandate — masks, the Examiner reported Tuesday. Assembly Democrats are considering a boycott of the meeting.

On Nov. 30, Pocan and Republican Speaker Robin Vos were featured in an advertisement discussing the necessity of wearing masks. The ad, which aired on broadcast and digital channels throughout Wisconsin, was produced by a coalition of 125 health care and business groups in Wisconsin that banded together this fall as the Stop the COVID Spread! coalition. The group is co-chaired by Eric Borgerding, CEO of the Wisconsin Hospital Association and Marl O’Connell, executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association.

In the advertisement, Vos and Pocan say they have political differences but highlight their agreement on COVID-19 precautions.

Vos states, “Always wear a mask, Wisconsin, wash your hands and practice social distancing.”

While not mentioning Vos by name, Pocan released a tough statement critical of the no-mask decision, mentioning that on Tuesday as it came to light, Luke Letlow — a 41-year-old congressman-elect from Louisiana — died of complications from COVID-19. He said the joint COVID safety ad with Vos weighed into his decision to put out his statement.

There is no excuse for not requiring masks — as most employers do — in every effort to keep people safe during a pandemic,” said Pocan. “If you can require proper attire or even the wearing of a tie on the floor, you can certainly require the wearing of a mask to keep all members, their families and staff safe.

“It’s time we all walk the walk—not just talk the talk, when it comes to public safety and COVID-19. I hope the Assembly leadership will change course on this devastatingly bad decision.”


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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.