Op-Ed: Judge a Tree By Its Fruit

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Green summer Tree with Roots and red Apples. Vector Illustration. Plant in garden.

[Rep. Derek Skees] We have just endured three years of insanity in America, and we are seeing the PTSD from our inability
to stop it. On the right, we don’t want to see these policies and erosion of Freedoms ever again, so we
are looking for who to blame. In our shell socked state it seems, some among us refuse to let go of a
perceived target of this blame, regardless of truth easily researched.

This brings me to the targeting of my wife as a member of the Flathead County Health Board, for a
decision made during the early days of the Dempanic. Let’s establish some facts first, that are all verified
and easily proven by the record.

  • Ronalee is a Parliamentarian, so she is often asked to state a motion.
  • On March 19, 2020 there was a vote to support the first letter from the Health officer during
    this Dempanic, going to the businesses in an effort to keep them open during the Governors lock
    down out the next day. This was the only support letter that passed because the conservatives
    on the Board saw the tyranny of the Governor quickly, and stood against his efforts from then
    on.*
  • In the same meeting (remember this was 3 weeks into the start of the Dempanic), the CDC and
    staff warned the Board they should secure Freezer trucks and body bags, because the death toll
    would be 5% of the County. (How would you have voted without knowing what you know now?) *
  • No one on the Board at that time knew the CDC would become the lying entity we now know
    today, and in fact President Trump initiated the State of Emergency that started all this.
  • Dr. Annie was just a few months new on the Board, and has voted either no or abstention the
    vast majority of the time (a practice continued up to today), so to claim that she knew what we
    all know now, back then, is quite a stretch of reason… and ego.
  • If the above was true, then why didn’t Dr. Annie make a second motion telling everyone what
    she knew, citing her evidence for disbelief, and try to gain the support of her allies on the Board
    and block the Governors mandate coming the next day? (in fact, no one there knew the details
    of the Governors Mandate, and by the law then, they couldn’t have stopped it anyways) Dr.
    Annie never did, the next day or the following weeks.
  • This one vote Dr. Annie has used as a hammer wasn’t seen as a failure until late last year (almost
    2 years later) when she tried to accomplish something during a meeting incorrectly, and she was
    ruled out of order (anyone paying attention at this point, remember Ronalee was a
    Parliamentarian?). Her scorn at such an affront to her ego is what led to this assault, as she
    hoped to now use this “long lost vote” to force the commissioners to replace the two rotating
    Board members (Ronalee was one) with her sycophants. That didn’t happen, because the
    commissioners knew these truths.
  • If this vote was actually to establish the mask mandate and initiate the lock downs, where was
    the outrage March 20, 2020? Why didn’t Dr. Annie and her false asserted prescience raise this
    objection then? Where was the FLC and Jessica Kirkendall as well, if this was the origin of all this
    in the Flathead?
  • Flathead County was the freest county during Covid in the whole State, as demonstrated by
    repeated attacks by the left of this same health board for the past two years. For example, we
    never closed our Fair during all the Dempanic because of the Health Board and commissioners.
  • The Health Officer before the current one left because “she couldn’t get anything the CDC askedor done in the Flathead” (paraphrasing her words on resigning). That was because of the commissioners and the Health Board in the Flathead.
  • The school districts in Flathead County set up and control their own policies (masks etc.), are
    beholden to their own trustees and Boards, and are not controlled by the Health Board in the
    Counties. We ran into this during the last Legislative session when we fixed many of these
    problems.
  • If we are looking so close at the failures of the Health Board, why are the members of the
    political right attacking the conservative members on the Board, when the Health Board has 8
    members, and most of the things the Health Officer tried to do died on a tie vote? There were
    consistent 4 votes from the conservatives on the Board (Dr. Annie, Pam Holmquist, Ardis Larsen
    and Ronalee Skees included every time!) that blocked most everything, so where is the outrage
    (from the right) on the 4 consistent liberal yes votes? Where is the outcry that those members
    be replaced?

I defended these facts at a Meeting, calling out the “cancel culture” we now see in the right, explaining that we shouldn’t do this by our Christian faith, and now the same folks are attacking me with easily proven lies to destroy my character (that could be a whole different letter-to-the-editor.

Please consider this fact; by this standard where one hindsight bad vote can be judged a complete failure, no one can measure up. Not Ranalee, not me, not anyone who must make decisions with the facts in from of them at the time they need to be made. The hundreds of other votes made by my wife on this board prove her character, her love of this community, her commitment to personal and medical freedoms, and the conservative values we all share.

[Editor’s Note: This op-ed was provided by Rep. Derek Skees]




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