In a voice mail sent to an Arapahoe County municipal lawmaker in July, a woman who identified herself as Kathleen Conti voiced her opposition to the “mask-wearing mandate,” saying “private businesses are able to do that on their own,” and, “We do not need a mandate and a heavy hand coming down on people.”
Asked about the message, obtained from a source, this week, Arapahoe County Commissioner Kathleen Conti, at first had no recollection of it at all.
The voice mail states: “This is Kathleen Conti, and I’m just calling you to express my voice to encourage you to opt-out of the mask-wearing mandate. Obviously, private businesses are able to do that on their own, and anywhere in an indoor environment, it is able to do that on their own. We do not need a mandate and a heavy hand coming down on people. If you have any questions, issues, you are welcome to call me back [phone number deleted.]”
The phone number left by the caller is linked to Conti and publicly available.
After hearing a recording of the message, Conti, a Republican, acknowledged that it “kind of sounds like words I would use, but I have no memory of it.”
If the voice mail is hers, it wasn’t left in the last month, for sure, she said.
In fact, the voice mail was left in July, after the Tri-County Health Department issued an order giving Arapahoe County municipalities the power to opt-out of a mandate requiring facial coverings in cities and counties that have not opted out.
The voice mail “flies in the face of things I absolutely do remember saying.”
“Even early on, I was the one saying, ‘Mask up and go on with life.'”
“I had campaign masks printed up, as opposed to campaign t-shirts this year,” she said. “If I was going to request that we be exempted out of this, why would I have ever printed campaign masks.”
Masks, she’s convinced, do provide an added element of safety. Experts have convinced her of this.
“I still stand by the situation that I don’t know that a mask protects us nearly as much as we think it’s protecting us, but it makes people feel better,” she said. “And you know what, if people feel a greater confidence and it can help us go on with life, that is probably where we need to be right now.”
“We need to be cognizant of the different circumstances,” she added. “There are no cookie-cutter people, and there should not be a cookie-cutter solution.”
Conti was a member of the Colorado House from 2011 to 2017, serving from 2013-2014 as GOP House Minority Leader.
Listen to the voice mail here: