Before I begin my response to Supervisor Stephen Miller taking a knee in support of the CDC’s bad policy, I would like to address him attacking my staff. I hired four of the hardest working people in Pinal County. Each week they read over 1,000 pages of law, regulations, opinions and research just to get me prepared for a single meeting with the Board of Supervisors — notwithstanding the numerous phone calls and constituent comments and issues handled through my office. We work closely together, and I see them as family.

For an elected official, especially the chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, to attack and disparage my staff is unprofessional and certainly not in accordance with the stated values of Pinal County. In a preparation brief, a staff member quoted a statistic directly from the Pinal Health Department website page that failed to clearly distinguish a count of vaccinated persons versus vaccines delivered, and I referenced that statistic in a meeting.

You had the opportunity to address your understanding of the statistic in the board meeting, but you were unprepared, Mr. Miller. You could have walked across the hall to my office after the meeting, emailed me or called me to discuss the perceived error, but you chose to write an editorial instead and sew the same type of discord you practiced with other supervisors during the past eight years. My staff deserves an apology, Mr. Miller, and I hope you have the integrity to deliver one.

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. — George Bernard Shaw.

I. The Pinal County board rightly rejected federal government policy

The people of Pinal County elected a Board of Supervisors to represent local interests, not the interests of Washington, D.C. Chairman Miller’s apology posted on Sept. 17 is a continuation of take-a-knee politics. Why do I say this? The “equity” grant that the Pinal County Board of Supervisors rejected is a continuation of a political movement that came to national prominence in 2016 when a professional football player began kneeling to protest alleged police brutality. That movement spurned the “Defund the Police Movement,” which led to mass riots, burned-out buildings and the takeover of a city block in Seattle.

Whether purposefully or ignorantly, Supervisor Miller has embraced the assumptions of this flawed political ideology. As evidence of this, Supervisor Miller, in his Justin Trudeau-esq apology letter, states: “Equity is a word I do not fully understand as it is commonly viewed with multiple interpretations.” It is through this type of ignorance that the federal government takes control of local governments, police departments, school boards and now public health departments. Research would have shown the chairman that President Biden defined how “equity” shall be interpreted throughout his administration in an executive order signed on the day of his inauguration, Jan. 20, 2021.

II. The purpose of the grant was to turn Pinal citizens into a political product

The purpose of the grant rejected by the Pinal County Board of Supervisors had nothing to do with unequal access to vaccines in Pinal County; in fact, there is no evidence that vaccines are inequitably distributed in Pinal County. The real purpose of the grant was to create a vaccine equity coordinator position in Pinal County in exchange for a small portion of the funds, and to transfer the remaining millions to some unknown private contractor. The federal government cares little how the money is spent as long as the equity position was established.

The real reason is to gather citizen data to establish, not discover, inequity. The grant would also have allowed fund recipients to begin to identify individuals who choose to remain unvaccinated pursuant to their private health decisions in likely preparation for a future vaccine mandate. Other grant-supporting documents state that COVID-19 risk factors are present because of racism and systemic discrimination. In other words, the vaccine equity coordinator is required, because of alleged inequity despite the federal government’s admitted lack of data, to support this claim in Pinal County. To further President Biden’s political objectives, he needs to divide Americans one against another under the guise of “equity.” Notably, the rejected grant forbids the use of funds for actual vaccinations. Why did Supervisor Miller leave this out of his apology letter? The grant language includes attractive phrases like “greater accessibility,” but the rest of the document can be easily interpreted as “less privacy, less choice, less freedom and divisive politics.”

III. Pinal County needs leadership

Pinal County needs local leadership, not acquiescence to federal mandates. As Peter Drucker once said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” The right thing for Pinal County is to solve local problems with local solutions. Leadership is not the blind acceptance of money; real leadership creates solutions.

The Pinal County Public Health Department has done a fantastic job, under the circumstances, of providing access to vaccines within the county, having facilitated more than 50 places for vaccine access.

As a supervisor, I personally wanted to ensure that there were no people who wanted the COVID-19 vaccine but could not get one, so I sent my staff to canvass the district and conduct an anonymous study. After speaking with hundreds of citizens, we have found zero residents so far who wanted the vaccine but could not get it. This is real evidence that the Health Department is distributing vaccines in an equitable manner. For Supervisor Miller to suggest that our Public Health Department is violating the law, or distributing vaccines in a way to disadvantage people of color, LGBTQ+ community or the economically disadvantaged, is divisive to all who believe his thoughtless and politically panicked rhetoric.

The residents of Pinal County demand real solutions, which is why I presented a flexible and scalable plan to our Public Health Department to handle current and future outbreaks or pandemics to facilitate actual delivery of vaccines, educational materials and mobile medical services in the County — potentially using a portion of the $90 million in COVID funding already allocated, or other funds, but without the embedded political ideology and waste. The mobile vaccine contractors we have used so far have charged up to $20,000 per day, and on at least one occasion reportedly didn’t vaccinate a single person — a waste of citizens’ money by any measure.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” — Abraham Lincoln As your supervisor, I promise to continue to fight for your freedom even if it means rejecting federal money with unreasonable strings attached. You elected local representatives to govern and lead locally, not to blindly accept dictates from Washington. Please join me in this fight.

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Kevin Cavanaugh, R-Coolidge, is the Pinal County supervisor for District 1.

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