Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory has responded to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards who spoke out in an interview Friday with the Washington Post about the push back on a local mask mandate by the Lafayette City Council.
Guillory questioned the governor's own enforcement of a mask mandate at a state level, accusing Edwards of not properly enforcing the rule and of not writing citations for nearly 4,000 complaints received statewide.
The mayor-president also defended the decision to not have a mask mandate in Lafayette, citing "challenges" and "costs" it would bring to enforce the mandate.
The city council voted on February 9th to reject an emergency ordinance to mandate masks or facial coverings in certain establishments and public places. The ordinance was rejected by a 3-2 vote, with Glenn Lazard and Pat Lewis voting in favor of it.
Opinions on wearing a mask and whether people should be required to wear them in public has been a debate since the pandemic began that has since made national headlines.
Guillory made his stance on a mandate clear in January while speaking at a meeting for a group called Acadiana Patriots. Questions were later brought up about the role of government in emergencies after Guillory enforced a stay at home order during the winter storm.
The governor said Friday that the debate on masks has turned into a partisan issue.
"How this has taken an air of partisanship I will never know," Edwards said. "That virus doesn’t know and doesn’t care whether someone is a Republican or a Democrat."
Guillory ended his statement Saturday by saying, "If the governor wants to use the national media to audition for a job in Washington, D.C., he might want to make sure his own house is in order first."
Below is the full statement released by Guillory on Saturday:
It is deeply hypocritical for Governor John Bel Edwards to attack Lafayette in the national media, criticizing our City Council for recognizing the challenges and cost involved in enforcing a local mask mandate. Where is the Governor’s enforcement of his mask mandate? The State Fire Marshal reports to him. ATC reports to him. How many citations have they written for the nearly 4,000 complaints they have received? Zero.
The real failure of leadership is immediately evident in Governor Edwards’ decision to use his “mask mandate” as a partisan weapon, rather than actually enforce it. How much of the $1.9 billion provided to the State by the Federal Government for COVID-19 response has been dedicated to enforcement of his mandate? Why does he expect local governments, yet again, to bear the cost of state mandates?
If the Governor wants to use the national media to audition for a job in Washington DC, he might want to make sure his own house is in order first.
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