Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe (FILE/The Enterprise)

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 VALE – Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe has written a letter rejecting Gov. Kate Brown’s mask and vaccination mandates as unconstitutional and declaring that his office will not enforce them.

“As Elected Sheriff of Malheur County I Believe that; it’s not the governments job to protect our health. It’s the governments job to protect our Rights, Freedoms, and Liberties,” Wolfe wrote.

Wolfe, who released his letter Tuesday, wrote that his office will not be enforcing the latest Covid mandates and would resist future mandates as well.

Last week, Brown announced that she was requiring all K-12 staff and health care workers to get vaccinated, which she is legally allowed to do under Oregon law.

This followed Aug. 13 mandates that required masking up while in indoor, public spaces.

Brown said during a press conference that she had given county and local governments a chance to slow Covid themselves, but was not seeing adequate action.

“What was really clear in the last week or so was that they were not taking the actions that were needed to preserve hospital capacity,” said Brown on Aug. 11. “It is unfortunate that we did not see widespread action at the local level, so I am taking this action now.”

Along with his letter, Wolfe released a petition statement dated Aug. 20 echoing his views, and urged citizens who agree with his message to sign it.

The petition said “all of the alleged science” espoused by state and federal agencies has “apparent political ideations that our Malheur County population has seen through from the beginning.”

It said people do not need to be "politically parented."

"If we are truly interested in the health of our citizens we must also look at the damage unnecessary mandates have caused by creating anxiety and mental health issues of those who are now faced with taking a vaccination that they do not believe to be safe or lose their livelihoods," the petition concluded.

Wolfe's office said the petition will be available to sign at the sheriff's department in Vale and Community Corrections in Ontario. Signatures also will be taken at Travis Schneider’s tool rental in Vale from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26.

Malheur County, like the rest of Oregon, faces a surge in Covid cases. The county recorded 24 new cases this weekend, Aug. 20 to 22, and has a daily average of 16 cases per day.

“We all have friends and relatives who have suffered as a result of this horrible disease,” Wolfe wrote. “However, that does not equate to a governmental ability to mandate that an individual or a population of people must forgo their freedoms or liberties.”

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