Senator Curtis King of Yakima says job losses because of the governor's vaccine mandate will hurt the entire state including, the transportation system.

Nearly 1900 state employees are searching for  jobs

King says nearly 1,900 state employees have been fired or left their jobs in opposition to Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. King is concerned that the state’s transportation system and public safety will suffer in ways that will impact people in Yakima and throughout Washington.

“We’re already seeing the effects of the governor’s overreaching vaccine mandate on the state ferry system, as the reduction in ferry workers has caused many runs to be canceled and now appear to have just been slashed,” says King, R-Yakima. “Commuters and others who rely on the ferries are being punished because of Jay Inslee’s heavy-handed approach to the pandemic. For example, the San Juan morning runs have been cut from five to two, the times being 4:15 a.m. and 10:35 a.m.”

King says a lot of state troopers are not on the job Today

Truckers and others who use our state highways will be hit hard says King. 127 Washington State Patrol employees, including 67 troopers, six sergeants and one captain are no longer working at the agency. “Our state troopers do an outstanding job of maintaining safety on our highways and helping motorists and truck drivers when they have an accident or have problems with their vehicles. They save lives,” says King who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee.

There could be big road problems on Satus Pass this year

King, whose 14th Legislative District includes the Columbia River Gorge and Satus Pass north of Goldendale, says the vast majority of the employees at the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Goldendale maintenance facility have lost their jobs due to the vaccine mandate. “If there aren’t enough WSDOT maintenance workers to keep Satus Pass and other mountain passes and vulnerable sections of highways open and clear of ice and snow during winter, it will make driving through the mountains extremely dangerous. This could have a very negative impact on drivers and freight hauling throughout Washington this winter, and it could hurt our economy at a time where there are already major supply-chain concerns. Not to mention the safety element and the potential loss of lives."

Monday was the deadline for state state employees, all school employees and many health-care workers to be fully vaccinated under Inslee’s mandate.

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