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White House addresses COVID-19 vaccine mandate opposition from Kan. governor

Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday signed legislation that continues support for engineering programs...
Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday signed legislation that continues support for engineering programs at three state universities during a ceremony at the Bartlett & West engineering firm at 1200 S.W. Executive Drive in Topeka.(Phil Anderson)
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 5:33 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - At Monday’s press briefing at the White House, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly came up with a question concerning pushback against COVID-19 vaccine mandates from the federal government.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, is becoming more forceful in opposing President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. She issued a statement Friday saying it’s too late in the coronavirus pandemic to impose them after states tailored solutions to their needs. Kelly criticized the OSHA rule, saying she doesn’t believe the directive is the “correct or most effective solution for Kansas.”

At Monday’s press briefing at the White House, a reporter asked White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-PIerre if Kelly being a Democrat would impact how the Biden administration would respond.

“You’ve repeatedly pushed back on Republican officials in this context,” the reporter said. “But does a statement like that, undermined the White House’s message and complicate your ability to persuade the public that this is the best policy?”

Jean-Pierre spoke in support of the vaccine requirements and said the White House’s message is the same for Democrats and Republicans.

“We know the vaccine requirements work, and we’re going to continue to push that. I know — we’re going to make sure that we get as many people vaccinated. It is — it is so important to get this pandemic behind us and to get the economy going,” Jean-Pierre said. “And so, that’s — I mean, that’s going to continue to be our message is to tell anyone that we’re working with, whether it’s a Democrat or Republican, that this is how we have to move forward to make sure that we get out of the situation that we’re in, to get out of this pandemic again.”

In Kelly’s statement released Friday, she said she “will seek a resolution that continues to recognize the uniqueness of our state and build on our on-going efforts to combat a once-in-a-century crisis.”

Currently, the president’s federal vaccine mandate is held up in the courts. At least 27 states including Kansas have filed legal challenges and a federal court temporarily blocked the mandates from taking effect until the cases are settled.

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