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Kansas governor more forceful against COVID vaccine mandates

Coronavirus in Kansas

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions about the COVID-19 pandemic during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday became more forceful in opposing President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates, saying it’s “too late” in the coronavirus pandemic to impose them after states tailored solutions to their needs.

The Democratic governor’s latest statement came a day after she argued that federal mandates “tend not to work,” though they’ve boosted vaccination rates elsewhere. Kelly faces a difficult race for reelection next year in her Republican-leaning state, and GOP officials have been attacking the Democratic president’s mandates for weeks.

“While I appreciate the intention to keep people safe, a goal I share, I don’t believe this directive is the correct, or the most effective, solution for Kansas,” Kelly said in her latest statement.

She added: “States have been leading the fight against COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic. It is too late to impose a federal standard now that we have already developed systems and strategies that are tailored for our specific needs.”

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican who hopes to unseat Kelly, already has brought Kansas into a lawsuit challenging a vaccine mandate for employees of federal government contractors. He promised Thursday to sue over one applying to companies with 100 or more workers.

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