Donâ€™t look now, but Virginia may have its own version of maverick U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.
Iâ€™m talking about Democratic State Sen. Chap Petersen of Fairfax County. The lone member of Virginiaâ€™s General Assembly â€” from either party â€” with the stones to stand up to former Gov. Ralph Northamâ€™s despotic executive orders last year and challenge them in court.
Petersen, a lawyer, didnâ€™t prevail but he fought the good fight.
It appears Petersen may not be a fan of any executive orders, including the new one by Gov. Glenn Youngkin that reverses Virginiaâ€™s statewide school mask mandate.
That doesnâ€™t mean Petersen believes kids should be wearing masks in school much longer.
In fact, in an email Petersen warned that if Fairfax County didnâ€™t end forced masking by Valentineâ€™s Day heâ€™d join with Republicans in the Senate to pass a bill that liberates our school children.
In a piece for The Daily Wire headlined, â€œStandoff In Virginia As Schools Defy Governorâ€™s Order Making Masks Optional,â€ investigative reporter Luke Rosiak â€” who broke stories on the shocking cover-up of sexual assault cases in Loudoun County schools â€” reveals that Petersen is ready to break ranks with Democrats who seem willing to keep masks on kids forever.
On Monday, Chap Peterson, a moderate Democrat who joined with Republicans to force school re-opening last year, said in an email to the Fairfax County Parents Association that Fairfaxâ€™s school board â€œmust define an â€˜off rampâ€™ for mandatory masking. That means plainly stated metrics as well as a final deadline (e.g. Valentineâ€™s Day). They should announce that immediately. The forced masking policy is going to end very soon, i.e. in a few weeks. Otherwise, the General Assembly will again step in. IT IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE LONG-TERM SOLUTION.â€
Republicans control the state house, while the Democrats control the state senate 21-19, meaning that any bill backed by Republicans and Peterson can be passed into law, with the Senate tie being broken by Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, a Republican.
Youngkin gave school districts eight days to comply with his January 15 executive order that made masks optional in all schools, public and private. Essentially it reversed Northamâ€™s order that muzzled all kids in grades K-12.
As schools reopened yesterday â€” the 8th day â€” some had complied, but many had not. That left some children â€” especially in liberal Northern Virginia â€” facing disciplinary action for removing their masks.
A showdown in the courts is coming. Regardless of the outcome, if Petersen joins with Republicans to pass legislation that outlaws forced masking, itâ€™s over.
As it should be. The majority of states do not have statewide mask mandates.
Petersenâ€™s worked with GOP leaders before. He and his Republican colleague Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, crafted the bill that mandated in-person learning for Virginiaâ€™s school students last year and they joined together to object to Northam using the law to justify forced masking
As much as those on the left blindly worship masks as talismans or amulets that ward off COVID-19, fact is they donâ€™t work very well and the damage done to children by forcing them to wear masks all day outweighs any benefit.
Just last week State Sen. Louise Lucas bragged that Democrats could thwart any of Youngkinâ€™s proposals.