Second Gentleman Pool Reports of April 5, 2021

April 05, 2021

Pool Reports by Michelle Maxwell, The Register-Guard

Sent: Reports:
April 5, 2021

SGOTUS pool report #1

First pool report from Louis Krauss, Eugene Register-Guard Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff visited Eugene, stopping at the White Bird clinic at WOW Hall Monday, to emphasis the importance of everyone in the community getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

Emhoff , the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, entered the WOW Hall vaccination site at 12:57 p.m. Monday, April 5, and toured the venue with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

White Bird Clinic, which provides crisis services and free medical care in Lane County, partnered with WOW Hall in early March to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all who are eligible. The community center and live music venue in downtown Eugene, which is owned and operated by the nonprofit Community Center for the Performing Arts, is set up with tables to administer shots and 20 chairs spaced out for people in their observation period after getting their COVID-19 vaccine.

Emhoff watched as Christina McClory, a registered nurse who volunteers with White Bird, administered a vaccine to a visitor to the clinic.

"It's fast, painless, and it's going to save the lives of your community," Emhoff said, thanking McClory for letting him observe.

"Everyone should bring attention to this. We're so close. "

He then made comments with Brown, who thanked the administration for its response to COVID-19 and getting vaccines distributed so far.

Brown emphasized the need for equity in response to COVID-19.

"We know our communities of color have been disparities impacted disproportionately, and we have to do everything we can to put justice and equity at the center of our work."

April 5, 2021

SGOTUS pool report #2 (OR)

Emhoff received applause from a room of roughly 50 people, including volunteers, officials and community members getting vaccines, after Emhoff praised the visitors for getting their vaccines. He then went to an empty bar area in the basement, where Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and White Bird Executive Director Chris Hecht discussed the importance of equity and addressing racial disparities when it comes to impacts of COVID-19.

"We know our communities of color have been disproportionately impacted, and we have to do everything we can to put justice and equity at the center of our work," Brown said.

Brown also applauded the new presidential administration for its work so far on response to the pandemic, "making sure policy is based both in science and data."

Emhoff thanked the volunteers and the nurse who let him observe as she administered the vaccine, and he noted the importance of having local groups like White Bird working with the state to help administer vaccines.

"I love to see these partnerships between the state and local officials and communities," he said. "It's a nice way to get the word out and reach communities. You really see things that were bad have been made so much work during the pandemic."

He added that the lessons learned by communities during the pandemic are a blueprint for the future, saying that he hopes new partnerships continue after the pandemic has ended.

Emhoff commented on how he is devoted to fixing issues with equity as he tours communities and brings information back to Vice President Kamala Harris.

"I come to it as a longtime lawyer driven by passion for justice, fight bullies, fight unfairness," he said. "This package between the American Rescue Plan and the new jobs plan are going to address that in a way that's fair and will help all Americans."

There were also leaders of several local social services on hand to provide comments.

Hecht said he is confident the new administration will work to fix long-lasting health disparities in the country.

"The administration is focused on ameliorating disparities in health and health care that for far too long have been part and parcel for systemic racism," Hecht said.

Representatives from other groups were on hand to discuss their response to the pandemic. Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, who accompanied Emhoff and Brown on the tour, took time to say that President Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan has a "heavy emphasis on rewriting wrongs from the past in terms of inequity."

April 5, 2021

SGOTUS pool report #3

After leaving the WOW Hall vaccination clinic, Emhoff headed to the Hult Center for the Performing Arts Center in downtown Eugene, Oregon, arriving at 2:12 p.m. Monday, April 5, 2021. He convened a roundtable discussion with DeFazio, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis, along with representatives from pro bono legal groups in Oregon and local individuals impacted by COVID-19.

Emhoff used the roundtable to listen and take notes he promised to bring back to Harris, hearing from Shandel DeLille, a Lane County resident who was evicted twice in 2020, and recalled waiting 16 weeks for unemployment benefits after losing her job of 23 years, only to be denied.

The second gentleman thanked her for sharing her story, and promoted Biden's American Rescue Plan, saying it would serve as a "stop-gap" for crisis situations across the country.

"Unfortunately it's a story you see playing out all over the country," Emhoff said. "Folks who never expected to be in that situation, losing their home, losing benefits, even losing eating. There's folks who never thought they'd be in a food line, you see those pictures, miles long."

Representatives from Oregon Legal Aid Services, Sexual Assault Support Services and the Lane County Legal Aid office of Oregon Law Center all took turns discussing changes and challenges they have faced since the pandemic set in.

The conversation ended with a discussion of homelessness in Lane County, and about fears of the upcoming end to the CDC's eviction moratorium at the end of June. BB Beltran, executive director of Sexual Assault Support Services, said she believes the number of people requesting her group's services will only increase with the end of the moratorium.

"For our survivors, I would characterize their situations as precarious at best before the pandemic, and now it's very unstable," Beltran said. "I anticipate survivors reaching out about the moratorium, probably more than we can handle."

Erika Hente, managing attorney from Lane County Legal Aid, added that while some unhoused people have money to move into a house, the problem is that there's a lack of housing.

Emhoff responded to the concerns by saying he would take concerns like the eviction moratorium, the lack of housing, and bring them back to the White House. He closed by saying the Biden administration is working hard to address the many issues.

"You're seeing the immediate results, there's shots, there's checks, there's thought to the future," he said. "You've got an administration that's all over this, and we're doing everything possible to address these issues."

Doug Emhoff, Second Gentleman Pool Reports of April 5, 2021 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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