Press Release
Senator Kip Bateman Senator Kip Bateman (R-16)
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Contact: Robbie Kenney / (609) 847-3600
April 6, 2020
Bateman: To Beat the Virus, Governments Must Work Together

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Somerset County Lost Out on 35,000 Protective Masks When the Feds Grabbed Them

Senator Kip Bateman said the critical shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers has created a free-for-all environment that has local governments competing with federal agencies and other states for supplies.

After Somerset County lost a shipment of 35,000 masks to the federal government, Sen. Bateman called for the State to coordinate access to emergency supplies. (

“The pandemic is taking lives and overworked healthcare professionals are exposed to the contagion every hour of the day,” said Bateman (R-16). “To help the sick, we first must protect the doctors, nurses and EMTs. As stocks of masks and protective gear dwindle, the urgency increases to find new sources. Unfortunately, the market has become ‘every man for himself.’”

Bateman cited a recent development in Somerset County, where a shipment of 35,000 N95 masks and surgical masks, intended for hospital and corrections healthcare workers and first-responders, was instead routed to the federal government, according to the Freeholder Director Shanel Robinson.

“It is counter-productive and frustrating when entities with the same goals are fighting for necessary tools,” Bateman said. “We’re in a war against an invisible adversary, and everybody has to be on the same page, working together. Coordination of effort is crucial.”

Bateman is urging Governor Murphy and the health department to establish a supply hub to help procure and distribute emergency supplies – masks and protective equipment, COVID-19 tests and treatments, and life-sustaining hospital appliances including respirators.

“We must defend the local needs of New Jersey against the federal government and competing states like New York and California,” Bateman said. “It’s an unfair fight when our counties are losing out to Washington, D.C.”

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