Last week, I was disturbed to learn that Bryant “Corky” Messner, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, will do anything to protect his investments and his clients — even work against public safety.

As a corporate lawyer for Chipotle Mexican Grill, Corky tried to silence the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and stop them from providing regular updates to the public about an E. coli outbreak. Why? Because they sounded the alarm about the outbreak at Chipotle, and sent Chipotle’s stock into a tailspin.

This is a man who is running to represent our state in the Senate, but his track record for serving the public is shameful. I cannot think of one good reason that people should be kept from important information about the food they’re eating and the restaurants they visit. The CDC couldn’t find a reason either, responding to Messner’s attack by defending their updates as necessary “to protect and inform the public.” It seems like Corky’s reason for trying to hide the truth comes down to his own financial gain. In addition to the expensive legal fees that his firm was charging Chipotle, Corky has as much as $1.5 million in Chipotle’s stock and he chose to put his wallet and his corporate friends over the wellbeing of families across the country. This is not the kind of leadership I want.

Many people got sick from that outbreak, and Corky did everything he could to silence the CDC and hide that fact. Now, years later, the truth is fully coming to light and the restaurant is being forced to pay a $25 million fine. It’s the largest fine ever imposed in a food-safety case.

His choosing corporations and money over people is untrustworthy behavior even in the best of times, but we’re currently in the midst of a global health crisis. Transparency and the advice of public health experts, like those at the CDC, are more important than ever. We need leadership in the Senate that will work to protect Granite Staters from harm and help us recover, not someone who fights for big corporations like Chipotle and Messner’s many other corporate clients.

In the upcoming election, our voices and votes are crucial. It’s clear that during a global pandemic, or any other time, we can’t trust Corky Messner.

ANN GOODRICH-BAZAN

7 Swan St.

Winchester