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Achieving sound public policy

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The blatant and misleading political hit published in this paper last week deserves response ("Something to remember," April 8). (The letter writer, it should be noted, is the chair of the San Luis Obispo Democratic Party, and perhaps let partisan bias seep into a false narrative.)

Since day one, our office has taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, and worked tirelessly to mitigate the impacts it has had on our health, businesses, mental health, and children. I am proud of the work we've done to help Central Coast residents deal with COVID over the past year.

Here are some of the facts:

• Since the beginning of the pandemic, our office has helped thousands of local residents secure their unemployment benefits through the broken Employment Development Department.

• At the earliest stages of the pandemic, we were able to find critical medical supplies, including ventilators and elastic bands for masks, assisting our local logistics and supply experts.

• Over the course of the past year, we've worked tirelessly with local, state, and federal elected leaders from both sides of the aisle to fight for additional resources like testing capacity and vaccine supply.

However, I have not shied away from standing up on behalf of our community when illogical public health edicts are dictated from Sacramento. That is an important part of my job as this community's representative in the legislative branch.

For example, we spoke forcefully against the governor's initial decision to close beaches statewide over the summer. We spoke forcefully against the governor's unscientific decision to close outdoor dining, as well as when he linked San Luis Obispo County with Southern California counties in December for a shutdown order. We spoke forcefully when schools remained closed to in-person instruction, months after the CDC said it was safe to get kids back into class. We spoke forcefully when the state failed to allow youth sports to resume safely, even after more than 40 other states had allowed it.

Fortunately, we do not live in an authoritarian society where we are expected to unquestioningly comply with directives from a central authority. As Americans, we have the freedom—and the obligation—to speak up, to question authority, and to insist that government mandates be backed by actual science and in accord with fundamental constitutional rights. That is an indispensable component of a healthy democracy and the best way to make sound public policy.

Jordan Cunningham

Assembly member

San Luis Obispo

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