Politics New Hampshire state representative leaves GOP over opposition to vaccine mandate
Masks burnt outside Florida board meeting; board passes final budget
Far fewer people arrived to speak at the meeting, which was the board's final budget hearing. Masks were not on the agendaOutside the meeting at the Brevard County Public School headquarters in Viera, Florida, one group of protesters gathered to burn masks, while another group of anti-mask mandate activists held a separate prayer vigil.
A New Hampshire state representative said Tuesday he had formally left the Republican Party in protest of what he said was an emerging strain of anti-vaccination rhetoric coming from state House leaders.
State Rep. William Marsh, an ophthalmologist who has won election to four terms in the state House, said he had met with the town clerk of Brookfield to change his registration to affiliate with Democrats.
"I have come to realize a majority of Republicans, both locally and in the NH House, hold values which no longer reflect traditional Republican values. And so I am recognizing the reality that today's Republican Party is no longer the party I first joined when campaigning for President Reagan many years ago," Marsh wrote in a press release.
US deaths in September outpacing previous months; U.N. General Assembly relying on vaccine honor system ahead of meeting: COVID-19 updates
The United States is on track to exceed the total number of COVID deaths in July and August combined within a matter of days. Live updates.Through Saturday, the country reported 32,526 deaths in September, compared to 27,612 in all of August. With deaths averaging nearly 2,000 per day, the U.S. is on track to exceed the total deaths of July and August combined within a matter of days, a USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows.
He said he had been content to ride out the rest of his term without attracting any attention until state Republican leaders held a rally Tuesday in opposition to President Biden's vaccine mandates for federal and private sector workers.
At the rally, interrupted by anti-vaccine protesters who criticized Republicans for not taking more drastic action against the Biden administration, state House Speaker Sherman Packard (R) on Tuesday called Biden's vaccine mandates "madness." Packard assumed his current position in January, after his predecessor died of the coronavirus.
This isn't Marsh's first run-in with leadership in his own party. Marsh had lost his post as vice chairman of a key health committee in June, after he opposed a bill that he said would have diminished the state's ability to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Pfizer announces 500M more vaccines to lower-income countries; California has lowest virus transmission in US: COVID-19 updates
Meanwhile, California's rate of transmission is an average of 94 cases per 100,000, which is considered "substantial" by the CDC. More COVID updates.It is the only state in the country reporting transmission levels considered "substantial" by the CDC, along with the territory Puerto Rico. All other states currently have "high" levels of transmission." High transmission consists of 100 or more cases per 100,000 people in the last week.
Video: White House defends new vaccine mandates as GOP leaders threaten legal action (CBS News)
On Tuesday, he cited the danger posed by the latest wave of coronavirus infections and the mandates that have helped keep cases relatively low in the Granite State.
New Hampshire is reporting an average of about 340 new cases every day over the last week, a pace similar to an early spring surge but about half the rate the state was reporting at the apex of the winter wave. A total of 1,443 New Hampshire residents have died of the coronavirus.
"As we all know, the combination of the infectious delta variant [of the coronavirus] and waning immunity is causing Covid-19 to surge both in NH and throughout the United States. ICUs are filling up and younger people are getting sick and dying," Marsh said. He cited guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics that recommends vaccinations for those over 12 and masks in schools.
President Biden's private sector business mandate is 'unprecedented'
President Joe Biden's Thursday announced an aggressive new plan to get 100 million employees across the federal government and private sector vaccinated.Ethan Brecher, a top labor lawyer and founder of The Law Office of Ethan A. Brecher in New York City, told DailyMail.com in an interview on Friday that he's 'never seen anything like this' in his 30 years of practice.
But Marsh cited a 1905 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of vaccine mandates and a more recent move by Justice Amy Coney Barrett to deny an appeal of a decision upholding a vaccine mandate imposed by Indiana University.
"I cannot in good conscience support this selfish refusal to take reasonable precautions," Marsh said. "So far, NH has done remarkably well with Covid by taking all reasonable precautions while carefully reopening our economy. I was proud to be part of the Governor's Economic Reopening Taskforce that made that happen. I cannot stand idly by while extremists reject the reasonable precautions of vaccinations and masks which made that happen."
Marsh's seat is the second Democrats have picked up in New Hampshire in less than a month. Last month, a Democratic candidate won a Republican-held state House seat after the incumbent died.
Republicans maintain a narrow majority in the state House, which at 400 members is the second-largest legislative body in the United States, behind only the federal House of Representatives. As of Tuesday, Republicans hold 206 seats, while Democrats hold 189 seats; another five seats are vacant.
Anti-Trump Republican group targets Texas governor with ad showing wall of COVID victim coffins .
The Lincoln Project is calling out Texas governor Greg Abbott after a television ad was pulled blasting his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Your browser does not support this video The Lincoln Project, an American political action committee formed in 2019 made up of former and current Republicans, issued a statement questioning why the TV ad that it funded for $25,000 on ESPN during the nationally-televised Texas vs. Rice college football game didn't air. The group said the ad was pulled 10 minutes before it was expected to run, despite ESPN's legal team clearing it beforehand.