On Tuesday, April 15, all 10 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus authored a letter to the governor asking him to address three pressing concerns with current COVID-19 response efforts. The caucus posed questions on how to ensure the safety of essential workers, how the state can better distribute PPE to those who need it and why the governor’s Economic Relief and Recovery Team lacks the diversity needed to ensure a proper economic response.
“We have seen recent reports of this virus spreading in essential businesses, especially in our state’s steel mills,” Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) said. “Hoosiers are being forced to work in conditions that violate CDC guidelines and the governor’s own executive order. The United Steelworkers recently penned a letter to the governor detailing how workers in the mills have to labor almost shoulder-to-shoulder and without any type of mask or face covering. As a result, over 20 steelworkers from one company have tested positive for COVID-19, and one has sadly passed away. The governor must put enforcement in place to maintain the safe working environments expected from his own executive order.
“In addition, we believe that the state must increase efforts to acquire and distribute PPE to those who need it. We are seeing that health care workers are not the only ones who need protection. Essential employees across Indiana are having to work in public settings with little to no protection. So, how can we help these Hoosiers as well?
“At the end of the day, the governor is correct that we need to start thinking about how we are going to recover from this pandemic as a state. However, the advisory team he has put together can only be most effective when its members reflect the diversity seen across Indiana. Only when members of both political parties and all communities work together can we hope to make a plan that will benefit everyone in Indiana, not just a select few. This is why we seek to diversify the membership of the governor’s economic recovery team.”
Northwest Indiana members of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus that signed the letter to the governor are Lonnie Randolph, Frank Mrvan and Eddie Melton.