The Journal Gazette
Saturday, July 17, 2021 1:00 am

Passport to political points

Fort Wayne City Councilman Jason Arp's push for a resolution banning vaccine passports failed once again Tuesday. The unnecessary distraction served a purpose, however, in separating the serious council members from those pandering to an anti-vaccination crowd.

The nonbinding resolution was a leftover from a June 22 council meeting, when it was tabled so Arp, R-4th, could rally votes from Republicans Tom Didier, R-3rd, and Russ Jehl, R-2nd, who missed the meeting.

Tuesday, the vote on the resolution split 4-4, with Jehl abstaining.

“I oppose vaccine passports,” he said in a statement released before the vote. “I also oppose the politicization of the pandemic, which is why I will not add my vote.”

That's the legislative equivalent of having it both ways, but it managed to kill an unnecessary and divisive resolution. Jehl is correct that the pandemic has been needlessly politicized.

Didier, a candidate for the Republican nomination for mayor in 2023, voted for the resolution, along with Arp and Republicans Paul Ensley and Tom Freistroffer. Council members Michelle Chambers, D-at large; Glynn Hines, D-at large; Sharon Tucker, D-6th; and Geoff Paddock, D-5th, voted no.

Legislation passed by the GOP-controlled Indiana General Assembly already prohibits local and state governments from mandating vaccine passports. But Arp's resolution tells us who is focused on Fort Wayne's challenges and who has their eyes on the next election. 

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