United State Vice President Kamala Harris visited New Jersey on Wednesday, March 15 as part of a fundraising event organized by the Democratic National Committee.
The event was held at a private home on Howland Avenue in Paramus, where the VP touched on the country's mental health crisis, cleaning up lead pollution, and technology.
A copy of her speech was published by the White House. Harris began by thanking those in attendance, mostly doctors and healthcare providers, for their role in bettering the condition of human life.
Noting external factors that have taken a toll on the collective mental health of people globally, Harris recognized the guests' ability to uplift people and bring stability to the lives of many.
She went on to highlight the importance of high-speed internet, which was accelerated by the pandemic and made remote learning and telemedicine possible, along with many other things, possible.
"But here’s what the pandemic highlighted then: For our seniors who did not have access or could not afford access to high-speed Internet, they’d have to go to the local public library and sit in the corner of a public library and try to have a private conversation with their healthcare provider," Harris said. "Where’s the dignity in that?"
Harris says America is currently facing a heightened need for mental healthcare. Access to telemedicine for mental healthcare could be a gamechanger for people who might otherwise feel shame or embarrassment to be seen at a clinic. Instead, they can receive treatment in the privacy of their home and "don't have to worry about running into them in church on Sunday."
Harris went on to discuss lead pipes and their effect on young children. While legislation may have been passed to remove lead piping, many Americans can't afford to do that. And so, that creates a whole new issue, Harris said:
"It’s a public health issue. It’s a public education issue. And therefore, we should not require an individual to be able to afford to remove those pipes. That is a responsibility and an appropriate responsibility for government charged with public health and public education. And that’s the perspective we took. And that’s why we are doing this work."
Considering the best interests of public health and wellbeing mean that elections matter, the VP said.
"So I thank you all for your support of this event this afternoon," she concluded. "There was good work that has been happening. There is more work to be done. And we’re all in it together."
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