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Republican State Rep. Jeff Shipley spoke to a group of about 50 people in Mason City on Monday night. There were competing protests earlier in the night between those who want personal choice for MercyOne staff when it comes to the COVID vaccine and others who seemingly support requiring MercyOne employees to be injected with the vaccine whether they want it or not.

Shipley, who drove more than three hours from Fairfield to attend the rally, said he was happy to join the group and it is obvious they’re making a difference because the other side “took notice” and felt they needed to respond.

“I’m very thankful they did come out today because by wearing their masks outside, that does demonstrate, you know, maybe they don’t quite have the faith in the vaccine that maybe they’re saying,” Shipley said. “Maybe they are worried about being ill. I’m just so thankful to be around people who support freedom, people who are willing to show their face, people who aren’t going to do ridiculous things in the summer heat, and then yeah, obviously you know a lot of people have a strong Christian background – clearly that’s important.”

Shipley told the group they are setting the standard as more and more Iowans rally for freedom.

“The people need to lead,” he said. “The people need to lead and that’s what’s most important. We’re supporting the nurses, we’re supporting the employees — but the people themselves are not waiting for permission. They know what’s at stake. We’ve read some of the science here, we know that the future of freedom really depends on us using our freedom of speech.”

He predicted it would be a long fight, but implored the group to dig in.

“Your voice, you being here is more valuable than a million people standing in masks on the other side of the road,” he said. “It really makes a difference.”

Legislators are working on changing laws to provide proper legal protection of civil rights so people do not have to lose their jobs over COVID vaccinations. He said religious exemptions are not enough if they’re still able to discriminate against employees once they’re exempt.

The Iowa College Student Aid Commission was informed that Grinnell College is in violation of the law, but Shipley isn’t sure the law is being enforced.

“Are the lawmakers actually competent enough to solve the problem? I have my doubts,” he said. “And that’s why it’s so important that groups like this really get involved, show up, be persistent. I’m a Republican, but if the Republican Party was really doing their job, we wouldn’t need to be protesting right now. I guess that’s the nicest way I can put it.”

Ultimately the biggest way to rebel, Shipley said, is to be healthy.

Author: Jacob Hall