NOTE: Mayor Lightfoot, Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, Congressman Danny Davis, and Gov. Pritzker are expected to hold a media availability following Harris' visit. Stream it live in the player above at 2 p.m.
Vice President Kamala Harris landed in Chicago Tuesday afternoon in her first official trip to the city since she was sworn into office, delivering messages about the Biden administration's efforts to tamp down the coronavirus pandemic and to pass major legislation, including the American Jobs Plan.
Upon her arrival in Chicago, the vice president visited a mass vaccination site, which opened this week to serve Chicago Federation of Labor members. Chicago officials say that the union-based vaccination site is the first of its kind in the nation, and Harris says that Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke glowingly about the program in inviting her to Chicago.
“(Mayor Lightfoot) reached out and said ‘you’ve got to come and what labor folks are doing in my community, because it will inspire you, and it will prove to be a model for what the country is capable of,’” Harris said.
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The vice president called spring a time of “renewal,” and while she emphasized that the United States can see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, she also reminded Americans not to forget the collective sacrifices that have been made during the pandemic.
“We’ve been going through so much as a nation. So much death, so much loss. Loss of life, loss of jobs, loss of normalcy for our children,” she said. “A lot of folks were isolated because we said that’s what we had to do. When people are isolated, it tends to make us feel alone, but here we are today, and if you look around this room, it kind of reminds us…that no matter what season, we are not alone. We are all in this together.”
Harris also touted the American Jobs Plan, a bill that the administration is pushing hard to pass through Congress by the summer.
“Joe Biden is very serious about being the most pro-labor president we’ve ever had, and about ours being the most pro-labor administration,” she said. “It’s about building back up our infrastructure in a way we can leapfrog others, so that it’s not just about repair. It’s about building things.”
Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff began their trip Thursday, first heading to Los Angeles, where they stayed through Easter Sunday. To start the week, the two traveled to Oakland, California, before heading to Chicago.