State Rep. Jamie Smith (D), a candidate in the Democrat primary attempting to unseat Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) in this year’s gubernatorial, told Breitbart News on Thursday he supports mandating vaccines for some residents while pushing others to “wear a mask.”
“There are people in certain professions – that I believe in the health systems – have asked me to support mandates in health systems, for example. They’ve reached out to me and said, ‘please, because of what we do, we need to make sure all of our people are vaccinated,’” Smith said about his vaccine mandate position.
Smith, who has been an ardent supporter on multiple accusations of wearing masks indoors, told Breitbart News, via phone call at a press conference, he also agrees with President Biden’s health experts that masks should be worn “when appropriate.”
“The way we can be the safest is to be vaccinated, boosted, and wear a mask when appropriate,” Smith continued.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said in December that wearing a mask indoors is a “prudent” preventative measure to combat the coronavirus.
“If you have to be in an indoor congregate setting in which you’re unsure of what the vaccination status is of the people around you, wear a mask,” Fauci said at a town hall.
Smith continued in the press conference and pledged to govern according to unelected health experts’ guidance.
“That is what the overwhelming science says and therefore, that’s what I will advocate for,” Smith said. “I will follow the guidance at the time when I’m governor. I’ll follow what health professionals say is the best thing for us to do.”
This was the scene in committee last week. Not a mask in sight. We are here to do the work of the people, for the people, and we must remain healthy to continue that work. I am asking South Dakotans to respect their neighbors and please wear a mask! pic.twitter.com/IUqQv5RbNz
— Jamie Smith for SD Governor (@RepJamieSmith) February 10, 2021
When Smith was pressed by Breitbart News if solely following unelected health officials’ advice on public policy is leading by example, Smith complimented his opponent, Gov. Noem, for her leadership on vaccine policy.
“As of late, the governor has come out with a commercial to the people talking a bit about vaccination and boosters and I appreciate that,” he said about Noem’s public health announcement. “I think it should have been done months ago, perhaps a year ago. But I do appreciate this commercial.”
— Jamie Smith for SD Governor (@RepJamieSmith) February 12, 2021
Smith’s comments on vaccine mandates and encouraging others to “wear a mask” come as South Dakota only has 344 individuals hospitalized with coronavirus, according to the state’s health website as of Thursday. Over 895,000 people live in South Dakota.
Polling shows Noem enjoys majority support in the state as 53 percent of respondents approved of her performance, an October poll revealed. Only 40.9 percent strongly or somewhat disapproved.