Submitted by Alexis Hill, Candidate for Washoe County Commission District 1
Last Tuesday, County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler voted to spend taxpayer dollars to support a lawsuit that would open the door for hoarding of an unproven treatment for COVID-19. The Governor’s Directive allows for access to this drug in a hospital setting where the drug can be vetted so that access would continue to be available to those who take it for clinically approved uses with chronic illnesses such as lupus and arthritis.
She made this decision without seeking the advice of scientists or infectious disease physicians. If she had, she might have seen how ill-advised her vote was. Or perhaps she heard the advice, but chose to ignore good public policy in favor of politics and supporting the Trump agenda.
Berkbigler, a lobbyist and politician by trade, is showing she believes she knows more about science than medical specialists, epidemiologists and public health experts.
This is not the first time that Berkbigler’s “leadership” has been lacking at best, or dangerous at worst. Her decision making has gone against common sense and better judgement at other times during this crisis, and instead has put her own political outcomes in front of community wellbeing.
Going directly in opposition to her FEMA training, and all emergency management best practices, Berkbigler released sensitive information regarding a potential COVID-19 case related to Huffaker Elementary School before the information was finalized by the Health District, a board that she currently holds a seat on. This meant that the school had not yet notified the families, causing confusion and additional worry.
A crisis requires steady leadership, discretion, and following a chain of command, not jumping at the opportunity to get your name in the paper to help your re-election campaign. Washoe County residents deserve better.
I want more for my community. That is why I filed to run for Washoe County Commission District 1 in early March, pre-COVID-19 (which seems like an eternity from today). I believe that this community has many opportunities ahead, but we need forward-thinking public officials to help direct better planning to ensure sustainability and better community outcomes–especially now, especially during this public health crisis.
I have immense hopes for our community’s future. What I’ve seen our community do to come together during COVID-19 instills within me excitement for all that our region has the potential to be and do in the next decade. However, whom we choose to elect to lead us matters. What governments do and say has lasting impacts across the county and in our local community.
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