Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff visits Blair hospital, vaccination site

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 11:00 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 11:06 AM CDT
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BLAIR, Neb. (WOWT) - Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, made a Nebraska stop Tuesday in Washington County on the ”Help is Here” tour to explain the finer points of President Biden’s stimulus plan.

The county GOP chairman called the plan a waste of money, saying a statement in response to Emhoff’s visit that it prevents people with stimulus money in their pockets from going back to work.

But Emhoff’s theme was simple: The president’s economic stimulus plan is for everyone, and it will take everyone working together to get through this crisis. The American Rescue Plan authorized direct payments of up to $1,400 to qualifying individuals as part of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package President Biden signed earlier this month.

Emhoff took the administration’s message to the small town of Blair, passing on a stop in the big city of Omaha.

“It doesn’t matter where you live; this plan helps everybody,” he said. “Also for COVID, we’re all in this together. To be able to see how they’re handing health care out here — COVID patients, vaccinations — it’s great. I can send it back to the administration. It’s boots on the ground, and to tell them exactly what’s going on.”

The second gentleman visited with frontline healthcare workers at Memorial Community Hospital on Tuesday, and talked with local healthcare professionals, thanking them for the work they do in the area. The 25-bed hospital serves a rural area that would otherwise be more than 35 miles from any other hospital, accord to a news release from Emhoff’s office.

Emhoff then stopped at a nearby COVID-19 vaccination clinic at First Lutheran Church to hear how the site has been helping the community through the pandemic, from meal distributions to senior citizen outreach. The church has also served as a Three Rivers Public Health Department vaccination site since Feb. 12, hosting clinics two or three times each month so far.

“We’re talking about broadband investments in their community and small business and building out our infrastructure — all that stuff is going to create jobs. It’s going to create opportunities,” Emhoff said.

One thing that’s going on in smaller towns across the country is the lack of staff for local hospitals.

“You heard about the staffing issue — we need more nurses and frontline workers out here in rural America, because they were struggling to have folks here. It’s even worse now. It’s kind of doing more with less, but they have to do it.”

President Biden, Harris, and their spouses have been traveling the country explaining how they believe the relief package will help Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. The second gentleman’s next stop will be St. Louis, on Wednesday.

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