A message from Texas state Sen. Royce West, representing District 23:

Today, President Joe Biden announced two efforts aimed at helping Texas school children and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

First, President Biden instructed Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to take the steps needed to protect school children by using all available oversight authority — including legal action — to stop governors or other officials’ efforts to “block and intimidate local schools and educators.”

The President called out politicians for their attempts to turn public safety measures into partisan disputes for their own political gain. He cautioned that state executives who are taking power away from local educators are “setting a dangerous tone,” for the country.

I could not agree more! I fully support President Biden’s directives to Secretary Cardona. We cannot play politics with the lives of Texas schoolchildren when we know that local school boards and superintendents will do what is necessary to protect students from COVID-19.

Secondly, President Biden announced that his administration will require all nursing home workers who serve Medicare or Medicaid clients to be vaccinated.

The President correctly noted that the vaccination rates among nursing homes’ staff in Texas trails the overall vaccination rate of the rest of America. I support the Biden Administration’s actions to protect residents in nursing home and long-term care facilities across this nation, and in the great state of Texas.

Mask mandates and vaccinations are not and should not be political. These are public health measures we must all pay attention to in order to protect our fellow Texans and save lives.

My overriding philosophy of government has always favored local control. I believe that government closest to the people is best for the people.”