Pa. Rep. Scanlon takes questions on COVID, Capitol riot, and schools during town hall
U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5th District, speaks with Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Photo courtesy of the office of U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon).
It’s an especially anxious time in America right now. That’s the major takeaway from a tele-town hall U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon held for her constituents Tuesday night.
The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, remains the dominant issue on the minds of those constituents. They wanted to know when more vaccines will be available and why it’s taking so long.
“This has been an incredibly rough year. Right at the end of the year former [Health and Human Service Secretary Alex] Azar announced there was a reserve of vaccines and it turns out there wasn’t a reserve of vaccines,” Scanlon, D-5th District, explained. “The whole federal effort was on getting vaccines to states but not on helping states get vaccines into arms”
Another question brought up by several Pennsylvanians concerned when students will finally be able to return in-person to schools.
Scanlon, of Delaware County, pointed to the new standards issued by the Biden Administration as a positive step.
“President [Joe] Biden’s efforts are focused on safely opening schools, not just opening them wily-nily,” she responded. “Having those national standards are what we’ve been waiting for, both because we have that guidance and the resources to back it up.”
Attendees were outraged about the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, that left five people dead, one of them from Pennsylvania. They decried those who were involved and the lax response from law enforcement. Scanlon’s response included a comeback aimed at colleagues who would prefer to move on.
“The January 6th attack on our Capitol inflicted serious danger on our democratic institutions,” she said. “I agree with my colleagues who are calling for unity, but we can not unite without also demanding accountability.”
The majority-Democrat U.S. House, with the support of 10 Republicans, voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection. A Senate trial is set to begin on Feb. 9. Scanlon’s House colleague, U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, has been named one of the House managers who will try Trump on the single impeachment count.
Among the other topics that came up were the post office, D.C. statehood and whether a Native American should replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. This week, Biden announced he was moving forward with a plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
More than 3,250 constituents called into the town hall, according to her office, and about a dozen ultimately got a chance to ask a question.
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