Naive Republicans claim victory in New Jersey school mask mandate

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TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Erik Peterson credits the Assembly Republican members who refused to comply with the Statehouse Covid-19 policy and fed-up parents for ending the controversial school mask mandates.

Murphy ended the mask mandate, not because of local Republicans, but because after meeting with the National Governor’s Association, he saw the political writing on the wall. There are no local seats up for election in 2022’s assembly or state senate, but the national trend for the Democrat party is to limit losses in this year’s congressional midterms.

On Monday, Feb. 7, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he would be lifting statewide school and child care masking requirements on March 7.

“The governor’s promise to end his mask mandate next month shows that when Republican Assembly members and parents stand together in opposition to his Covid mandates we can force the administration to follow the science and unmask our kids. Had I and my colleagues not stood our ground and forcibly said no to Governor Murphy’s statehouse Covid mandates and shown our solidarity with parents, I am convinced he would not be rescinding his mask mandate but would have instituted a vaccine mandate for our children to attend school,” Peterson (R-Hunterdon) said.

Murphy has completely ignored the Republican caucus in Trenton for two full years during the pandemic and defeated their candidate Jack Ciattarelli in November. Murphy is not quaking in his boots from the Republicans who had largely remained silent for most of the pandemic, but because politically, now is a good time to end the mask mandate.

In December, Republican Assembly members defied the policy requiring legislators and visitors to show proof of Covid vaccination or a negative test to enter the Statehouse and legislative chambers. In return, Murphy’s administration dealt a swift blow by forcing unvaccinated members of the legislature to vote remotely and to this day, they still have to mask up to cast a vote.

“Prior to our standoff, medical segregation was alive and well in New Jersey. When parents and elected officials pushed back and Murphy’s approval rankings started to tank, the ‘science’ suddenly revealed that masks don’t stop the spread of Covid,” continued Peterson. “Governor Murphy should drop his political-science-based mask mandate today instead of appeasing his NJEA by waiting until March to unmask our kids. This is true political theater. Stop the nonsense and follow the science.”

Murphy and the Democrats still hold a firm grip on both houses of the New Jersey legislature.