Letter to the Editor:         

Growing up in a household where Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Atheists, Jews, and people that did not speak English were welcome at the dinner table made for lively mealtimes. Arguing and debate was expected. Listening to perceptions, other than our own, was required. Questioning where you got your facts was anticipated. What was not tolerated were personal attacks on anyone.

A lot of times I left the dinner table with a stomachache and a desire to read more or go to bed early. My parents had a strategy.

It is no surprise that working with public servants and response agencies through the years continually inspires me. This does not mean that their work comes without challenges. Gut wrenching challenges.

Public service is honorable and noble. Individual commitment, humility, expertise, and long hours are what I observe in our local public health agencies, as well as innovative ideas for thriving communities. The attacks I see occurring today toward public servants includes misspent anger and rage that is not solution oriented.

It is up to us all to work with elected officials and educate ourselves with factual information; to improve laws and outcomes as we go.  Don’t try to destroy the people who are carrying out laws you don’t like.

Health and medical agencies and facilities around the world are trying to minimize COVID-19, the destruction of their health system and save lives by implementing safety measures in schools, health facilities, and travel entities. I work with public health officials in Southeast Colorado and at the state level and none of them are at all interested in taking away your individual rights or their own. They want to end a pandemic. They want to see their communities thrive.

Your individual behavior has an impact on whether we continue with waves of COVID-19, mutations, preventable hospitalizations, death, and very challenging economics. If you want the pandemic to be over, do your part in preventing the spread of the virus, especially to those vulnerable such as young children that (at this time) cannot be vaccinated. Listen to the subject matter experts. Social distancing, mask wearing and getting vaccinated work.

Countries around the world have varied in how they implement safety measures. Some with a willing population that are enjoying no more lock downs, outbreaks in overrun health systems and are protecting their children as they go.  They’ve achieved 90% vaccination rates, no drama, and no threats to public officials. Other countries have 1% of their population vaccinated due to lack of vaccine, no mask mandates and have heart wrenching outcomes that will have an impact on us all.

Many countries would give anything to have lifesaving vaccines that we have in the US. Rather than thanking our officials that made this possible for us, some want to attack them.

There are various ways within our own country that governors are implementing safety measures. Some have none and have the highest incidence of outbreaks, lack of ICU beds and overrun funeral services. Colorado, in comparison is in the lowest 10 states due to safety measures in place. I am grateful to live in Colorado.

I publicly support our public health agencies and personnel. I support public health measures to keep the people in our counties healthy in the face of a serious threat and our health facilities robust.

Respectfully yours,
Kris Stokke
Southeast CO Regional Planner

Filed Under: Letters to the Editor

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