Article about lawmakers unmasked was misleading

To the Editor: The portrayal of lawmakers in the January 17 front page article “60 state reps have ignored executive order and doffed masks” is misleading.

Guidelines for Organization Day were not included in the article yet explain the doffed masks. Attendees were:

Given the option of sitting in a masked or mask-free section.

Required to wear a mask when moving about.

Required to wear a mask at all times if seated in the masked section.

Allowed to remove their mask only if in the mask-free section and at their seat.

Seated 6 feet away in all directions from each other. (The two photos are misrepresentative.)

Lawmakers were provided a box lunch that they ate at their seats.

The article states health concerns prevented some lawmakers from attending — inferring the “mask free” option and COVID-19 contraction. Perhaps sitting unsheltered outdoors for 5 hours in 38-degree weather was also a concern.

Speaker Dick Hinch’s unexpected death a week later was tragic. There is no indication that his presence at Organization Day contributed to his death — so why include it in the article?

Lawmakers (when acting appropriately) should not have to explain their actions to assuage concerns and fear expressed by constituents due to agenda-driven articles like this. The portrayal was inaccurate, offensive and could only have a negative response by the reader and negative impact on the representatives. I expect more from the Union Leader.

New Hampshire lawmakers are volunteers giving many hours and substantial effort to serve the people in the state they love. I know, I’m married to one. They deserve to be portrayed accurately and with honor.



Wednesday, February 24, 2021
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