BRANSON, Mo. – A precedent has been set in Branson, as officials have passed a resolution declaring the city will be mask- and vaccine-mandate free.
The Branson Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Oct. 10 to protect the faith and freedom of residents and visitors in the face of increasing COVID-19 cases or a potential new pandemic.
Ruth Denham, an alderman of Ward III, told The Heartlander that numerous residents, both within and outside her ward, have reached out regarding potential solutions to oppressive city regulations.
Denham observed that nearby cities were not strict in enforcing guidelines during the pandemic. Branson’s initial ruling was to only grant face-cover exemptions to those with a medically diagnosed health issue and proper medical documentation.
The alderman was questioned by former mayor Edd Akers, who wondered about her not wearing a mask during their meeting. Denham informed the mayor about her medical exemption. Following her interview with Akers, she went to a city meeting without a mask, and the mayor publicly called her out for it.
Akers warned Denham that she would have to leave if she refused to wear a mask. The city’s camera operators stopped filming, but some citizens continued to record on their phones.
“They told me I was in violation for not wearing a mask,” said Denham. “Then they told me I was trespassing. They gave me three citations that night. I had to get an attorney. It was horrific. I finally got up and walked out.”
Denham’s personal experience, coupled with witnessing police officers wasting taxpayer money by enforcing mask mandates in stores, motivated her to run for office and enact change.
She says she was transferred between workers at the city clerk’s office before police officers arrived to remove her. The officers informed Denham the ordinance had been updated, disallowing anyone with a medical exemption to remove a mask. Denham asked if there was a public hearing for the rule change and was simply told “no” by the officers.
Denham contacted the clerk’s office, requesting someone to come outside and register her for office, but her request was ignored. The alderman says she bought a full body protective cover from Menards, wore it backward, cut eye holes, and went inside to apply.
“When the people have concerns, they are justified concerns. It’s horrible what they’ve been through. I don’t blame our public one bit for having concerns. Nobody knows what the future holds. I believe people have their freedoms and rights to protect their health how they deem fit. There should be no governmental interference.
“If someone wants to wear four masks and get every single vaccine and every updated vaccine, that is their prerogative to be able to do with their health what they feel is best for them.”
Denham believes people were deceived about vaccinations, drugs such as Remdesivir, and masking. The alderman shares she has suffered the loss of family members due to certain guidelines and protocols, leaving others forever affected. Denham says no one should be compelled to participate in any of these activities.
“It was all after the Remdesivir and the treatments in the hospital. A lot of us are aware of it. Some people don’t quite understand, they haven’t read the research. It is heartbreaking. I’ve experienced a lot. It is absolutely horrible what is being done to the American people.”
Denham herself was once affected by COVID-19. Despite the mainstream media’s narrative, she received two vitamin IVs and recovered within a week. She says if people were given the right guidance on self-care, more lives could have been spared. Denham argues the American people have been deceived for years.
The aldermen garnered the backing of Mayor Larry Milton, as well as Alderman Marshall Howden, Ralph LeBlanc, and Clay Cooper. Denham reports that Alderman Cody Fenton finally joined the public’s cause after initially accusing the city of hypocrisy regarding drag queen show restrictions. Denham is well-versed in zoning restrictions due to her extensive career in planning and development. She argues that the issue was a zoning matter, not discrimination.
Branson has allegedly maintained a 30-year policy, as stated by Denham, which limits adult entertainment to specific parts of the downtown area. A special use permit is required for those who do so.
“To date, there has never been an application. It just doesn’t fit here. When they said that about the drag shows, I said they are operating in a zoning district that it is not allowed in. It had nothing to do with freedom. Since drag queens weren’t defined in our ordinances, that is what the whole thing was about. In that article, Cody Fenton said it was hypocritical that we’re doing this. No, it was a zoning issue.”
The alderman has been praised by the public for her contribution in passing the freedom resolution. Denham says the move has been mostly positive, with very little negativity. Denham has no reason to grandstand for a city position; she says she will continue her current term until April 2025 to safeguard freedom in Branson. Denham affirms her commitment to upholding the U.S. Constitution.
While private businesses retain the ability to enforce their own rules and COVID guidelines on the public, she cautions against doing so.
“Probably half of Branson wouldn’t go to that business. It’s like the Bud Light thing. If that is the type of business you want to run, there’s gonna be ramifications because you are sitting in the middle of a conservative city.”