Culpeper Star-Exponent: National-security advocates honor front-line COVID-19 fighters

CULPEPER STAR-EXPONENT, CLINT SCHEMMER

Nine House members with national security backgrounds, co-led by U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, have introduced a resolution to salute the service and sacrifice of front-line workers responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

The nine freshmen, who were in the U.S. military or in its defense and intelligence agencies before being elected to the House, proposed the measure to recognize the importance of front-line workers’ service as they put themselves in harm’s way to keep Americans healthy, safe and connected during the pandemic.

“Whether in a hospital, distribution center, or grocery store, Central Virginia’s front-line workers are putting their personal health on the line every day to keep our communities strong and safe,” Spanberger said in a statement Tuesday. “This resolution honors their selflessness, grit and devotion to their fellow Americans. I’m proud to stand alongside my colleagues as we recognize those who’ve responded to this moment of national crisis with a movement of national courage.”

Spanberger introduced the resolution with Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), Jason Crow (D-CO-06), Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06), Elaine Luria (D-VA-02), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11), Max Rose (D-NY-11) and Jared Golden (D-ME-02).

Nicknamed the “Gang of Nine,” the group of former CIA agents and a CIA analyst, Marine Corps vets, a Navy helicopter pilot, an Army Ranger, an Air Force officer and a submarine commander banded together in the House after flipping red districts blue in the midterm elections of November 2019.

The Democratic legislators’ resolution describes the fight against COVID-19 as “America’s latest war,” calling it “a generational event that has impacted every aspect of our country.” If passed by the House, their measure would honor the many people who are performing critical and essential missions during the pandemic.

The measure notes that many front-line workers have kept at it despite lacking the supplies they need to minimize their exposure to COVID-19, and recognizes that some have died of the disease due to their service.

The resolution hails such dedication, which it said keeps essential services operating, minimizes disruptions to Americans’ daily lives, and plays a vital role in protecting the health and safety of communities.

The document would convey the immense debt of gratitude the nation owes its front-line workers for “their heroic and selfless service.”

For example, the resolution thanks telecommunication workers maintaining networks “stressed beyond their limits” so Americans can try to stay connected amid physical isolation; truck drivers, commercial pilots and food and distribution-center workers staffing supply chains; people supporting the production and distribution of medical supplies, personal protective equipment, medication, food and more; U.S. Postal Service employees and other carriers who connect millions of homes, support economic activity and deliver critical goods, including prescription medications; and the sanitation, custodial, janitorial and cleaning service workers who help minimize the spread of COVID-19, especially in high-risk and essential places such as hospitals, airports and grocery stores.

Specifically, the resolution would honors doctors, nurses, nursing home workers, home care and domestic workers, and other medical professionals; firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, emergency dispatchers, Customs and Border Protection officers, border patrol agents, security guards, corrections officers, and law enforcement officers; farmers, farm workers, fast food workers, restaurant workers, food processing workers, and grocery store employees; communication workers; truck drivers, commercial pilots, and food and supply distribution center workers; United States Postal Service employees and other carriers; sanitation, custodial, janitorial, and cleaning service workers; construction workers, electrical workers, steelworkers, carpenters, millwrights, utility workers, machinists, ironworkers, and other laborers; local, state, and federal employees; childcare workers; Transportation Security Administration officers, pilots, air traffic control officers, flight attendants, railroad workers, and transit workers; and other front-line workers doing critical work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House probably will consider the proposal after May 4, after which its members are expected to reconvene.

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