State Sen. Bill Dodd among legislators who attended Maui conference despite COVID-19 surge

State Sen. Bill Dodd, who represents part of Contra Costa County, confirmed Thursday he was among more than a dozen elected officials who attended a conference in Maui this week amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases.

The four-day annual conference, held by the Independent Voter’s Project, drew a number of California lawmakers who flew to Hawaii, the Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.

Dodd, whose district includes the cities of Martinez and Pleasant Hill, explained in a text message to this news organization why he went on the trip.

“I saw the agenda, the safety precautions for the state of Hawaii and my hometown was in orange when I left,” Dodd texted, referring to the “orange” tier in California’s COVID-19 reopening system.

News of the trip came in the same week Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday he would pull the “emergency brake” for much of the state, placing 41 of the state’s 58 counties in the most restrictive purple tier. The move followed a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the state, spikes that set daily records in case rises.

In addition to part of Contra Costa County, Dodd’s district covers all of Napa and Solano counties and part of Yolo and Sonoma counties. Dodd grew up in Napa County, which had been in the orange tier before Monday.

Dodd did not immediately respond to a request for a follow-up interview about his decision to go on the trip. The Democratic state senator, who previously served as a state assemblyman, won his race for a second term this month.

The Independent Voter’s Project, a nonprofit organization that focuses on “nonpartisan election reform,” according to the group’s website, has held the conference annually for 18 years.

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A slew of other California politicians attended the conference this week despite a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, according to reports by Politico and the Sacramento Bee.

This story will be updated.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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