State Watch

Kansas mayor quits after being threatened over mask order: ‘They frightened me’

Dodge City, Kan., Mayor Joyce Warshaw resigned Tuesday, saying she received a series of death threats over a citywide mask mandate.

Warshaw, a one-time registered Republican who has abandoned party affiliation, said she had received pushback since the mandate was announced last month, adding criticism escalated to threats of violence after USA Today highlighted the city’s coronavirus outbreaks.

“They were loud, and they were aggressive, and they frightened me and my family,” she told The Washington Post. “There’s a strong part of me that wants to say they are only words. But people are angry right now, and I don’t know that for sure.”

Warshaw, who was serving a second term, became the city’s third female mayor in 2015. After Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced a statewide mask mandate in November, heavily Republican Ford County said it would opt out of the order, but the Dodge City Commission voted 4-1 in favor of a mandate that month.

Warshaw said she was persuaded to back the mandate based on expert testimony and her daughter’s coronavirus experience. She also said police are investigating the threats she has received.

In a letter on Tuesday, Warshaw thanked her fellow commissioners and maintained that the city was “a wonderful place to live, work, play and raise a family.”

“Life has dealt out many challenges in our world that have perhaps caused many people to act inappropriately but I do not feel safe in this position anymore and am hopeful in removing myself this anger, accusations and abuse will not fall on anyone else and will calm down,” she wrote.

Kansas has 193,288 cases of the virus, and a total of 2,109 related deaths as of Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Its testing positivity rate stands at 20.95 percent.

Tags Coronavirus Dodge City

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