As the COVID-19 virus attacks the American people, it is clear that the government response is best handled by local elected officials with specific knowledge.

The United States of America is too diverse and too large to have the federal government handling all of the decisions. Of course, we have known that since the founding of the Republic, but sometimes it takes a crisis to remind us of how well our system is constructed.

There are major differences between Massachusetts and Wyoming. There are major differences between places like the city of New Bedford and the town of Freetown. New Bedford and Freetown share a border and share some municipal services but one is a city and one's a rural town. To have the federal government or the state governments making all the decisions for the cities and towns would be inefficient and even dangerous to the citizens.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell demonstrated the importance of local government when he decided there weren't enough hospital beds to serve his residence and he moved to fix that problem. He went scouting locations and found two former nursing homes in his city and quickly converted them to over 200 beds for COVID-19 patients. That isn't in the manual; there is no manual for this crisis.

Mitchell, a former federal prosecutor, military officer, and the husband of an oncologist, moved quickly because he knows the people who would suffer from a lack of medical resources were his neighbors. It isn't a knock on the federal government to say they deal in statistics while local government officials deal in individuals.

Mayor Mitchell, uniquely, understood his responsibility as a local official and the way our Republic is structured. He earned a degree in economics at Harvard, and he obviously paid attention to the lessons of how specific and timely knowledge leads to positive outcomes. As a soldier, he learned that hesitation and indecision get people killed.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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