DES MOINES, Iowa – Congresswoman-Elect Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, said on Friday that she did not believe a lockdown was necessary as COVID-19 cases rise.
Two members of Joe Biden’s presidential transition team’s coronavirus task force have expressed support for a national lockdown and Biden has said he would do “whatever is necessary” to get the spread of the coronavirus under control.
“Well, I think at this point, we need to do whatever we can to increase testing to make sure, like in my experience, I know I needed to not travel, for example, because I had a positive test. So increasing testing and access to that testing is a priority for me. And I have spoken with the governor about that I’ll continue to advocate with the governor about that. And obviously, in the state of Iowa, the governor then responded by asking people to wear masks in group settings. I think we need to continue to advocate for that. I wore a mask everywhere I went in public, and I still contracted coronavirus. And I think that’s important to note as well,” she said during a press call.
“I don’t support another lockdown. I think we need to make sure businesses are following CDC guidelines. And, that’s what I support – making sure people can properly socially distance, regular cleaning, and, again, I’m wearing a mask. And if you can’t socially distance, I believe people should wear a mask,” Hinson added.
Hinson, who announced she tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, has attended the Congressional Freshman Orientation remotely. She noted that she is hiring a staff that will best meet constituent needs, prioritizing casework.
She was asked where she thought she contracted the coronavirus.
“I have no idea. I think right now, it’s very clear, Linn County, Cedar Rapids, is a hot spot for a number of cases. So I mean, even at my kids’ school, my oldest son told me that one of the classes that their school only has three kids in it right now. So I don’t want to speculate on where I got the virus other than I’m doing what I need to do to follow guidelines to make sure I protect my family and keep the community safe,” Hinson answered.
She noted that U.S. Rep. Abby Finkeanauer’s team has been helpful with the transition.
“I want to make sure that we handle all the casework. It’s the hugest part of this for me with derecho and the coronavirus. Obviously, there is a lot of folks in need of help. Both our teams want to make sure that there isn’t a drop off in service for the constituents here in Iowa’s First District,” Hinson said.
She said her team has reached out to U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne’s staff in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District to ensure “we are on the same page to serve Iowans as a united front as much as we can.”
“It’s absolutely critical we work together. And I’m confident we’ll be able to do that effectively, both at the staff level and between myself and the congresswoman,” Hinson stated.
She also noted that she is not considering what caucuses to join and has submitted her committee requests.
“Right now, I’m not focused on joining any caucuses, obviously just trying to find my way through orientation. I think as far as committees go, we’re working on our team side to put in requests. We have to narrow it down. I think it’s either three or five. We’ve put in a list of what we’re requesting. We’re working on that right now. But I know that my experience in appropriations, financial services area, and transportation (is) something that I’m going to be advocating for. I ran on helping small business. So those are areas of interest to me as well. And I’m advocating for that kind of area of policy to work on,” Hinson stated.
She was also asked about Republicans not acknowledging Joe Biden as the president-elect.
“I think much like what we’ve seen here in Iowa, obviously, we still have elections that haven’t been certified here. I do think that Vice President Biden should start receiving intelligence briefings. I think that’s important, no matter what the outcome of this is. I would say the same if President Trump were the incoming administration, similar to four years ago. So no matter where the legal remedies lead, I think the administration should treat the transition consistently with the manner that the Obama administration’s approached the transition four years ago. I think it’s important in our system of government, it’s really our ability to transfer power peacefully between competing parties, and I think that’s what we need to be focusing on, regardless of the outcome of a legal remedy,” Hinson said.