I first met Bonnie Watson Coleman when she was Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly, disproving the well-known aphorism that only corrupt politicians could rise inside New Jersey Democratic politics. When Rush Holt decided to not run for reelection, Blue America enthusiastically backed Bonnie who beat her opponent in a landslide. The in made her the first African-American woman elected to represent a New Jersey district in the U.S. House. Her voting record's "A" ratings rom ProgressivePunch shows her as the best member of Congress from her state.
Bonnie, age 75, just recovered from serious cancer treatment when the Trump coup attempt got underway and she was made to shelter with a pack of Republican legislators who adamantly refused to wear masks. Bonnie was infected with COVID-19 that day, as were several other Democrats-- including Pramila Jayapal-- who were forced to seek shelter in a crowded windowless room with Republican assholes.
Pelosi has instituted new rules meant to keep Republicans from spreading contagion to normal people. But this GOP antipathy towards mask-wearing, even at the expense of spreading disease to their colleagues isn't just a problem in DC, but across the country. It defines the world "idiot."
Yesterday, writing for the New Hampshire Union Leader, Mark Hayward reported that over 60 Republicans in the New Hampshire legislature refused to wear masks for the legislature's organization day last month-- and this probably led to the death of their own leader, House Speaker Dick Hinch, who died a week later. This ignored the rules set both by of the University of New Hampshire and the Durham town government-- where the event took place-- and the executive order promulgated by Gov. Chris Sununu (R). Two Republican legislators contracted COVID right after the meeting, the second being Speaker Pro Tem Kimberly Rice, the second-ranking House Republican. The Union Leader ran this yesterday:
The 61 maskless legislators represent 15% of the 400-member New Hampshire House of Representatives. "Since then," wrote Hayward, "many lawmakers have continued to defy the governor’s order to don masks in public... Democrats and some Republicans are dismayed at the unwillingness of House leadership to enforce a mask requirement, said Renny Cushing, the Democratic minority leader. 'We have no faith that even if the speaker says wear a mask that it will be enforced at all,' Cushing said. An unheard-of 130 state reps did not attend the organization session at UNH, most out of concern for their health with unmasked colleagues nearby... Most of the 61 who did not wear masks at the UNH event are in their first or second terms... Most are from suburban areas, such as Hudson, Goffstown and Seabrook. All are Republicans. One of them, Fred Plett of Goffstown, was seen laughing and joking with fellow state reps in videos from the Dec. 2 meeting. He came down with COVID-19 in mid-December, ended up needing to be intubated and was only released from the hospital-- to a rehabilitation center-- last week. 'The tragedy is rather than being united and doing all we can,' Cushing said, 'we’re debating on whether the pandemic exists and a mask requirement.'"