Colorado State House candidate Donna Walter is “surprised at how many have forgotten some basic science from even high school.”
Who are these people who have forgotten basic science?
According to Walter, they’re the people who listen to too much mainstream media and choose to follow Colorado’s public health orders and guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The science that Walter purports being forgotten is that the coronavirus, as a virus, is not classified as a living organism. “It is not alive,” Walter said, and, “a virus is going to do what a virus is going to do.”
Therefore, by Walter’s rationale, any policies and restrictions implemented to control the spread and impact of the virus — such as wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing, and regulating group sizes in businesses and schools–are misguided and ineffective.
Walter believes that the secondary impacts of COVID-19 restrictions are much more devastating to society and present a larger threat — for school children, susceptible adults, business owners, and the economy — than the public health and mortality challenges presented by the disease itself.
Donna Walter is a self-described citizen advocate, a nonprofit founder and board member, and a small business owner. Walter appeared on the Chuck and Julie Show–a controversial conservative podcast–last month to discuss her run for state representative of HD52, which encompasses parts of Fort Collins.
Walter also claimed during her interview that she was a board certified naturopathic doctor. However, a representative from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians informed the Colorado Times Recorder that Walter is not, in fact, a licensed naturopathic doctor, stating that she has “not attended an accredited naturopathic medical school, nor has she taken or passed the NPLEX, the test required to become a licensed naturopathic physician.”
Walter did not respond to an email and a phone call from the Colorado Times Recorder asking if she disputed this.
In her interview, Walter refers to the pandemic as the “spam-demic.” She identified a silver lining to come from it, however: the potential opportunity for Republicans to pick up a House seat currently held by a Democrat, in a district that normally leans Democratic.
“One of the good things from this ‘spam-demic’ is that our students are not here in the numbers that they normally are [to vote in Walter’s race,]” said Walter. “And this area is concentrated around CSU. So that will also help.”
Chuck Bonniwell, one of the co-hosts of the show, called it a “golden opportunity… to take the district.”
Walter didn’t return an email and phone call from the Colorado Times Recorder asking whether she meant to say “spam-demic” or “scam-demic” during the podcast.
Walter also seemed to negatively compare her opponent, appointed incumbent Rep. Cathy Kipp (D-Fort Collins) with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY).
“And when you mentioned AOC [Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, U.S. Representative from New York] is wanting younger people to vote, my opponent would [also] like to see the younger people be able to vote,” Walter commented to co-host Julie Hayden. “She voted to deny hospital visitation rights for people who were unable to see their families when they were dying!”
It’s unclear if Walter’s slight at Kipp was intended to imply that by preventing people from visiting their sick relatives during the pandemic, who may be high-risk, that older individuals are more likely to die and make way for more young voters.
Loosening COVID restrictions is a big part of Walter’s platform, as well as many other Republicans and conservative commentators. Colorado State Rep. Rod Pelton (R-Cheyenne Wells) heavily criticized Democratic Colorado Governor Jared Polis in April for the public health orders he issued.
Walter doesn’t just want to see rolled back COVID safety measures–she also wants to see the governor’s power rolled back.
She and Republican candidate for HD11 Mark Milliman sued Polis and Fort Collins and Boulder officials for the statewide and local mask orders.
“We have to rebuild the economy that the governor burned down,” Walter said. “My unelected opponent and the ruling party acted–and continue to act–as a rubber stamp for the governor’s policies. Recently, Kipp called the governor’s pandemic response ‘Uh-MAZE-zing!'” Walter countered Kipp’s praise, saying that most listeners in the conservative audience would agree with Kipp. It was amazing, yes, but only in that it was amazingly bad.
According to Walter, constituents in her district are stressed about financial burdens, as well as schooling burdens that make life difficult for their children.
“They’re not working. They’ve been locked down. Their children are not dealing with this change in the schooling very well. I’ve got people saying, you know, they’re paying taxes on their businesses,” Walter said. “They’re paying taxes on their home. And so they have no money to do anything other than this option. So they’re kind of stuck. It’s turning out that it’s a horrible option for children.”
Walter’s platform largely implies that the cost of enacting public health restrictions outweighs the benefits.
A cost benefit analysis from the Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics published in July suggests that masks are an extremely low cost and efficient way to prevent massive economic damage in a) the loss of lives and/or b) a second lockdown.
“…the single most critical intervention that all Americans should be encouraged to adopt is wearing a mask in public,” the study states. “This is a low cost and remarkably effective intervention that widespread scientific evidence continues to support.”
CORRECTION: This story was corrected to state that Donna Walter falsely claimed to be a board certified naturopathic doctor.