Kansas mayor resigns after threats over backing mask mandate

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — A western Kansas mayor announced her immediate resignation Tuesday because of threats she has received after publicly supporting a mask mandate.

Dodge City Mayor Joyce Warshaw said she was concerned about her safety after encountering aggression, including threats via phone and email, after she was quoted in a USA Today article Friday supporting a mask mandate, The Dodge City Globe reported.

“I understand people are under a lot of pressure from various things that are happening around society like the pandemic, the politics, the economy, so on and so forth, but I also believe that during these times people are acting not as they normally would,” Warshaw said.

The commission voted 4-1 on Nov. 16 to impose a mask mandate, with several exceptions.

Ford County, where Dodge City is located, has recorded 4,914 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the state health department. The county has about 33,600 residents.

Warshaw said despite the threats, she doesn’t regret voting in favor of the mask mandate.

“This is harder for me than people realize,” Warshaw said as she began to cry. “I really love this city with all my heart. I still believe in this city, and I believe in their ability to not harm one another.”

Some of the threatening emails have been turned over to police. Specific details of the threats were not provided.

Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis said the department is looking into the communications to determine its response.

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