Heart in Oregon: A ventilator being sent back east
Heart in Oregon: A ventilator being sent back east (Photo courtesy of Oregon Governor Kate Brown)

Hav­ing recent­ly had some suc­cess flat­ten­ing the curve and effec­tive­ly mit­i­gat­ing the spread of SARS-CoV­‑2, the nov­el coro­n­avirus, the states of Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, and Cal­i­for­nia have all announced that they will be send­ing ven­ti­la­tors back east to help New York and New Jer­sey in their great hour of need.

Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon (led by Jay Inslee and Kate Brown) are send­ing ven­ti­la­tors to New York, while Cal­i­for­nia (led by Gavin New­som) is help­ing six states plus the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. Five of the six states are in the East­ern timezone.

Even though COVID-19 remains a grave threat to our region of the coun­try, we’re tak­ing this step because New York and New Jer­sey have it worse than we do, and need the help. This is keep­ing with our val­ues of empa­thy and mutu­al respon­si­bil­i­ty. This is who we are as Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, Ore­go­ni­ans, and Cal­i­for­ni­ans.

(And Hawai­ians!)

Left Coast United in Defense of our American Values
We are the Left Coast… and we’re unit­ed in defense of our Amer­i­can val­ues (Art­work by the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute team)

With the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment unable to pro­vide the hard­est hit states with the ven­ti­la­tors they need, we Left Coast states are doing what they can Atlantic seaboard coun­ter­parts, who are incred­i­bly grateful.

New Jer­sey’s Phil Mur­phy declared that Cal­i­for­ni­a’s gen­eros­i­ty and com­pas­sion would not be for­got­ten and that New Jer­sey would pay it forward.

We are beyond grate­ful to Gavin New­som and the peo­ple of Cal­i­for­nia. From the bot­tom of our hearts, thank you. We will repay the favor when Cal­i­for­nia needs it,” the Gar­den State’s chief exec­u­tive tweet­ed today.

New York Gov­er­nor Andrew Cuo­mo also thanked Ore­gon pub­licly dur­ing a press con­fer­ence, call­ing the ven­ti­la­tor gift “aston­ish­ing” and “unex­pect­ed”.

“I want to thank the peo­ple of the State of Ore­gon for their thought­ful­ness,” said Cuo­mo. “It was a kind ges­ture.” He also not­ed that it was real­ly smart for Ore­gon to help fight COVID-19 in New York, because the dis­ease isn’t coun­tered there, then it will remain a threat to Ore­go­ni­ans’ health and well-being.

Gov­er­nor Cuo­mo is cor­rect. In the words of the late, great Paul Well­stone, we all do bet­ter when we all do bet­ter. Pool­ing our resources to solve prob­lems… pulling togeth­er to over­come obsta­cles, whether a depres­sion or a dead­ly world war or the scourge of ter­ror­ism or a pan­dem­ic… it’s some­thing we have repeat­ed­ly done through­out our his­to­ry as a coun­try. Out of many, one. E pluribus unum.

Sad­ly, that great and noble tra­di­tion of coop­er­a­tion and mutu­al respon­si­bil­i­ty has been under attack for a long time now by the forces of greed, instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, and self­ish­ness, which have in mod­ern times found a home in the Repub­li­can Party.

With the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment under Repub­li­can con­trol and par­a­lyzed or unable to effec­tive­ly respond due to Don­ald Trump’s regime’s cor­rup­tion and incom­pe­tence, it has fall­en to states like Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon, and Wash­ing­ton to lead.

Our team at NPI is proud of the work that Gov­er­nors Inslee, Brown, and New­som are doing. They are forg­ing stronger rela­tion­ships so that they can fight COVID-19 more effec­tive­ly. That’s exact­ly what we want to see.

Now they need to tack­le the PPE short­age prob­lem togeth­er. How can we get our front­line health­care work­ers and first respon­ders and jan­i­tors the tools and sup­plies they need to be safe? Answer­ing that ques­tion is an urgent priority.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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