Undercurrent

Lombardo was for vaccine mandates before he was against them

By: - January 7, 2022 6:04 am

This undated photo of Sheriff Joe Lombardo receiving a vaccine shot was removed from his official gubernatorial campaign photo account last summer.

Clark County Sheriff and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Joe Lombardo continues to dance around the issue of vaccines.

A recent fundraising letter sent by his campaign to potential donors states that first-term Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak must defend an “indefensible record on taxes, spending, crime, inflation, felons’ rights, mask and vaccine mandates.”

Following a vote by the Nevada Board of Health, Sisolak in September signed an emergency directive requiring State of Nevada employees who work with vulnerable populations to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The mandate covers state health and corrections employees. Sisolak has also publicly supported vaccine requirements for students enrolled in the state’s public colleges and universities.

And as the head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Lombardo implemented a vaccine requirement for all new hires.

“I think it’s my duty as the administrator of the Police Department to protect those employees, and therefore we make it a mandate for them to have the vaccine in order to be a member of the Police Department,” Lombardo told the Review-Journal in August.

The Metro mandate was implemented prior to the State of Nevada employee mandate.

On the physical campaign trail, Lombardo has said he will not enforce vaccine mandates at the state level and said that experienced police officers are smart enough to make up their own mind about receiving a vaccine. His online campaign presence remains largely silent on the issue of vaccines.

As reported by the Current in July, Lombardo’s official campaign Flickr page quietly removed a photo that appeared to show him receiving a COVID-19 vaccination at University Medical Center. Lombardo has said previously that he was one of the first people in Southern Nevada to receive the vaccine. He has also called the low vaccination rate of police officers “unacceptable.”

In the fundraising letter, which was sent prior to 2021 fourth quarter reporting deadlines, Lombardo also describes himself as a “no-nonsense conservative” who doesn’t “play political games.”

“I’ve never been someone who will change my positions to win an election,” the letter continues.

Lombardo is one of 10 candidates who say they are running in the Republican primary. Others include former Sen. Dean Heller, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, attorney Joey Gilbert and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and two mutts.

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