Legislator’s comments against state orders were dangerous

I have been a lifelong Republican, but a Republican Washington state representative just changed that. Regardless of one’s stance on Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, and the “reopening” of the state, the remarks by Rep. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, at the April 19 protest in Olympia were among the most ignorant, dangerous and offensive I have heard in my lifetime.

Comments such as, if the state sends its “goons with guns, we will defend ourselves,” and “Governor, you send men with guns after us when we go fishing, we’ll see what a revolution looks like,” are comments I would expect to hear from some domestic terrorist group’s leader, but not from a state representative. In a shallow effort to win over the protesters at the capital, Sutherland came very close to inciting violence against state Fish and Wildlife officers.

I don’t know if he is even capable of considering the possible ramifications of his vile rhetoric, or if he simply doesn’t care.

I recently listened to an interview Sutherland did with “My Northwest,” in which he attempted to walk back his statement, by saying he meant “a revolution of love” which we all know is simply not true.

I am proud to have been a Washington Fish and Wildlife officer for 34 years, before retiring a few years back, and have a great number of close friends who are still among the ranks of state employees Sutherland considers to be “goons with guns.” Now that I am retired, I am always looking for a project to work on, and Sutherland just gave me one. From this day forward, I will do everything in my power to see Sutherland is removed from state service.

What further compounds my frustration is that Sutherland is on house public safety committee. Obviously, having a state representative who shows a clear and strong bias against a segment of the very law enforcement officers which he oversees in his role in the house, is extremely dangerous.

My question is what are the other legislators going to do about this?

Todd Vandivert


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