John McCroskey Commentary: Swope Is Right — Bring Back Local Workers


Pretty much every day we’re reading about people either being fired or quitting over the mandatory vaccination measures. 

And at least here in Washington, as I’ve read, they will not get unemployment payments, a benefit they have been forced to pay into every day they have worked. As I’ve written before, this is nonsense, especially as long as we bring literally thousands of illegal aliens — many with COVID — sending them all over the country and not requiring them to get the vaccine. 

How does this help control the virus spread?

Across the country, hospitals are firing staff while it seemed like there was already a shortage of medical providers pre-pandemic.

This seems counterproductive.

I’ve read what politicians are best at is creating a crisis and coming up with a solution that usually is worse than the problem they created. Then they take a victory lap of sorts and tell us we’re welcome.

I don’t know Lewis County Commissioner Sean Swope as far as I know, but I read he’s taken some very harsh comments about the statement he made in Tuesday’s Chronicle. His statement was before he’d consider declaring an emergency, and bringing in federal workers, we first ought to bring back the health care workers who lost their jobs.

I think he has a point and a reason to be cautious.

Back in the ‘70s, the county had accepted federal money to fund deputies and things were swell. Then, they cut off the money and the county was left trying to fund seven positions or lay off those deputies.

When we built the new jail, we located a violent offenders grant that would give us a significant amount of money to help. I asked what the strings were?  None they said — until we accepted it.

I don’t have the space here, but the delay they required for some federal environmental study, beyond what the state already required, would have cost more than the grant in accelerated costs to the project.

We sent it back.

More recently, school boards were told to write some pretty specific transgender policies under the threat of losing funding. And I suspect this is just the beginning of what local school boards will have to deal with. I wonder what the next demand will be to teach or else?

The point is, when the state or federal government wants to help, care must be taken or the strings you have signed up for may be pretty unpalatable.

The vaccine mandates have generated an emotional response across the country and sadly much of the response to Swope has been just that — emotional. This mandate has exasperated an already shorthanded area of need and policies imposed on us by Inslee have only made it worse.

And it’s just the beginning. 

The cost to replace the state patrol who are leaving is estimated at $12.4 million and at least a year plus to find and train them. Further, it was already hard to recruit because, yep, the endless bashing of cops and the poorly thought out laws passed by Democrats in the Legislature.

Sadly today, debating ideas is a lost art. Emotion drives the discussion and facts are not as important. 

Have any opposing thoughts on the vaccines been allowed for debate? I’d argue you’d have to look hard but there is some pretty compelling material out there by very credible professionals against this mandate.

At my age, I chose to get vaccinated, but I’m not sure if I were younger and healthy I’d make the same call. Or if I’d had COVID and therefore the antibodies I’d object to the mandatory vaccine as well.

Back to Commissioner Swope’s comments. He seems to suggest rather than bring in federal people, bring back the local folks they fired first, and he’d reconsider the declaration. 

You know, the folks we called heroes all during the pandemic, working without a vaccine.

Bring them back.


John McCroskey was Lewis County sheriff from 1995 to 2005. He lives outside Chehalis and can be contacted at