Kansas mayor steps down following threats: ‘I do not feel safe in this position anymore’

The mayor of Dodge City, Kansas, has decided to resign because of threats she received after expressing her support for a city-wide mask mandate put forward by the city commission, the Washington Examiner reported Wednesday.

Joyce Warshaw said Tuesday that she would step down as mayor, noting that law enforcement had been notified about the threats she received after she was quoted in a USA Today article speaking in support of the mask mandate passed by the city commission on Nov. 16.

“I understand people are under a lot of pressure from various things that are happening around society like the pandemic, the politics, the economy, so on and so forth, but I also believe that during these times, people are acting not as they normally would,” Warshaw said following her resignation, according to USA Today.

She added: “I think it’s best for me and the city that I love to remove myself from the commission at this time and from the mayorship so that the city can move forward and be the best that it can be, because I believe in the city.”

Mayor backs down after threats

In her resignation letter, Warshaw, a Republican, said she no longer felt safe in the role of mayor.

“Life has dealt out many challenges in our world that have perhaps caused many people to act inappropriately,” she wrote, “but I do not feel safe in this position anymore and am hopeful in removing myself this anger, accusations and abuse will not fall on anyone else and will calm down.”

In the USA Today article published last week, Warshaw had explained that city leaders “just felt like we had to do something so everybody was aware of how important it was for everybody to be responsible for each other’s health and well-being.”

According to USA Today, Warshaw said in an interview with a local paper that she doesn’t regret voting for the mask mandate.

“This is harder for me than people realize,” she said through tears, as USA Today reported. “I really love this city with all my heart. I still believe in this city and I believe in their ability to not harm one another.”

A look ahead

City Commissioner Kent Smoll said following the news that he was “saddened” to hear of Warshaw’s resignation.

“I have not talked with her,” Smoll said of the mayor, according to the Washington Examiner. “Her decision is a personal one and I respect it. She was and continues to be a great ambassador for Dodge City. I wish Joyce the best.”

Warshaw was elected to the city commission in 2011 and became mayor in 2015, USA Today reported. The commission will oversee the process of choosing someone to fill her vacant seat for the remainder of her term.

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