Photo Credit: Mayor Andy Ogles 2022 / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles has issued a State of Emergency in an attempt to “secure the liberties” afforded to healthcare workers in his county.
Ogles went on Facebook Live on Thursday afternoon to make the statement, issuing the order to counteract a federal requirement that all healthcare providers who receive funding through Medicare and Medicaid force all employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
He was joined by several other area leaders, including State Representative Scott Cepicky of Culleoka, Representative Todd Warner of Chapel Hill, Representative Clay Doggett of Pulaski, and Representative Brandon Ogles of Franklin.
Just a few days prior to the announcement, protestors gathered outside of Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia to speak out against the vaccine mandate.
Ogles noted that his order was intended to protect the rights of healthcare workers.
“It is an order to protect health care workers in Maury County from harassment, intimation, adverse actions, and termination for exerting religious exemptions or rights of conscience as their constitutionally protected right to voluntary informed consent as it pertains to the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
Ogles stated that he believes the federal mandate will cause a disruption of the healthcare services provided in his area.
“There is no denying that this last 20 months have been challenging, wrought with fear, heartbreak, and personal sacrifice. We offer prayers to all of those affected by COVID-19,” he continued.
Maury Regional officials did not appear to be present for the announcement.
Interim CEO Martin Chaney, who is also the Chief Medical Officer, recently said that almost 75% of the staff are at least partially vaccinated. He also stated this week that the medical center plans to thoroughly consider each exemption request received from employees.
He also noted that if the center did not comply with the federal mandate, they stood to lose over $100 million in funding.
Ogles stated that it was time to stand up against the overstepping of the federal government.
“There has been a consistent abuse of power by the executive branch of the United States,” Ogles said. “No power to regulate health and medical practices was delegated to the United States…If there is ever a time to unite, stand together, and fight, it is now. I will leverage every tool at my disposal to protect this county and all the residents who reside here. I am resolute in my conviction and I will not relent.”
Ogles has consistently voiced his opposition to the mandates throughout the pandemic. Representative Cepicky gave his support to Ogles decision.
“We are very concerned about moving forward with this,” Cepicky said. “We understand what Mayor Ogles is doing, and we hope that other mayors will take the initiative on this and protect those hospital systems and workers across the state so that we can make sure we provide the proper healthcare for those individuals that need it in our hospitals and nursing homes.”
Warner said, “There is a healthcare worker shortage here in Tennessee, and we are here today to help protect those folks and help protect Tennessee.”
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Brandon Ogles also vowed to protect those employees from losing jobs dur to their choice against the vaccine.
“It’s wrong, and we are going to make it criminal in this state if we have our way,” he stated.
At the close of his announcement, Mayor Ogles urged healthcare workers to file for religious exemptions.
“Make them fire you. Do not cave. Then, we will take it from there. Be blessed. Just know, we are here, and we are fighting for you,” he stated.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com