Image: Former State Representative Mark Keough, who was a close ally and supporter of staunch liberal former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, is now leading the Montgomery County Public Health District to oppose Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order placing individuals rights over government mask mandates. Keough, who is now the County Judge of Montgomery County, followed the lead of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, when he mandated business and church shutdowns on March 27, 2021, in response to his fear of the COVID-19 virus. On February 24, 2021, Keough pled guilty to driving while under the influence of amphetamines and downers (Ambien).
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
With a five-person Board of Directors totally lacking any medical training or background, the Montgomery County Public Health District (MCPHD) slammed Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s conservative approach to mask mandates and accused him of showing a “lack of knowledge” and making policies “contrary to scientific recommendation.” The accusations appeared in a letter MCPHD sent to all Board of Trustees and Superintendents of the six independent school districts in Montgomery County.
In the letter, which appeared during the second week of August, 2021, MCPHD issued the following statements:
“The Governor’s statements show lack of knowledge of the situation and are contrary to scientific recommendation. Although public school districts are not allowed to mandate mask utilization, it is your responsibility to strongly recommend and require mask utilization and vaccination in any way permissible by law.”
It’s rather strange that medical treatment policy in Montgomery County falls under the direction and dictation of five untrained individuals who set the policies of MCPHD: County Judge Mark Keough (who has no medical background), Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null (no medical background), Conroe City Councilman Duke Coon (no medical background), Sandy Wagner (no medical background), and Panorama Mayor Lynn Scott (no medical background). MCPHD has a medical advisor, although Randy Johnson, the Montgomery County Hospital District Chief Executive Officer, who also lacks any medical background, made the choice of that advisor, Charles Sims, M.D.
On July 29, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-38, which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has made clear aims to strike a balance between “the ability of Texans to preserve livelihoods” and “protecting lives” through “the least restrictive means of combatting the evolving threat to public health.” GA-38 further suspends the authority of local officials to issue orders mandating face coverings, which contradict GA-38. Governor Abbott has made clear that his Executive Order extends to local school districts. Both Abbott and General Paxton have announced that the State of Texas will file suit against school districts which mandate the wearing of face masks.
The Supreme Court made clear in two emergency orders over this past weekend against Bexar County (San Antonio) and Dallas County that (1) Abbott has the right to enforce the mandate against local governments issuing mask mandates under Texas’ Emergency Act and (2) the State of Texas has the right to enforce the Governor’s Executive Order.
MCPHD has taken bizarre positions with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic to date. First, it was MCPHD which frightened Keough into shutting down businesses and churches on March 27, 2020, when the unelected agency predicted that Montgomery County would suffer over 100,000 cases of the disease and 1,000 deaths within 30 days of March 27. Neither of those predictions are close to true, even 17 months later. Second, MCPHD’s medical director and staff have attempted to bully local private physicians to follow only MCPHD’s methods of treatment of COVID-19 patients rather than permitting M.D.-degreed physicians to follow science and their best medical judgment for the care of individuals. Please see “Montgomery County Public Health District Interferes With Private Physician Life-Saving COVID Treatment,” The Golden Hammer, August 16, 2021, https://thegoldenhammer.net/keough-4/
When he issued Executive Order GA-38, Governor Abbott explained, “[This] executive order will provide clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State’s continued fight against COVID-19…The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates. Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities. Vaccines, which remain in abundant supply, are the most effective defense against the virus, and they will always remain voluntary – never forced – in the State of Texas.”
Clearly, MCPHD’s Board of Keough, Null, Coon, and others support government mandates over individuals rights and personal responsibility.