Congresswoman Haley Stevens Hosts Pre-Holiday Tele-Town Hall
January 7, 2021
On the evening of Tuesday, December 22, U.S. Congresswoman Haley Stevens (Dist. 11) hosted a Tele-Town Hall for her constituents, to address concerns related to COVID-19. Invitations to Stevens' town hall were sent out to constituents via phone call the day prior to the event, with a second phone call sent just minutes before the event began with instructions for listening in and how to submit questions.
Joining the congresswoman on the Tele-Town Hall was Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Senior Public Health Physician with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
Stevens began the town hall with a greeting for listeners saying," "It is very nice to be connecting with all of you before the conclusion of a very different year, a somewhat tumultuous year, and a year that, even though it's challenged us, it's shown the best in Michiganders." She then reviewed the state's grim statistics regarding the more than 450,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19, the more than 10.000 lives lost, and the economic fallout from closed businesses and lost jobs.
Stevens also highlighted recent legislation intended to bring relief to Michigan families who continue to struggle with economic and food insecurity, and to help accelerate production and distribution of the vaccine. She also applauded the timely development of the COVID-19 vaccine and promoted the state's participation in the vaccine rollout. "Once again, just as we have shown the entire time throughout this global challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic, that we step up to any challenge; we stepped up to the challenge when our supply chains were disrupted, and when our manufacturing facilities retooled and procured masks, gowns, and ventilators," she said. Stevens also explained she had received the vaccination in response to U.S. House medical recommendations and to set an example to Michigan residents who are still uncertain about the vaccine.
When the Question and Answer session was opened, callers voiced their concerns about dwindling unemployment assistance, remote learning, anxiety, and when, where and how to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. Dr. Bagdasarian explained how the state is prioritizing the vaccine, administering it to health care workers and nursing homes first, then essential workers such as teachers, along with first responders. The vaccine will next be available for those aged 65 and older and those with high risk conditions; by this point, Bagdasarian explained, the vaccine will be available at doctor's offices, urgent care facilities, pharmacies, and local health departments. Addressing skepticism about the vaccine, she added, "It is much safer for you to take the vaccine and avoid ending up with a complication of COVID-19."
In regards to struggling Michigan families, Stevens discussed the merits of the recently passed $900 billion COVID Relief Package, which was eventually signed by President Trump on December 27 after a lengthy delay. "This is making it so that we don't experience the worst economic effects of this pandemic, and I want to be a partner in that," Stevens said.
The hour-long Tele-Town Hall allowed the congresswoman to hear what Michigan residents have to say and are concerned with, while allowing her to reach out and provide details on how she is working in Washington to help all Americans in this troublesome time. Stevens remained upbeat throughout, saying,
"As we head into this new year, we're doing so with a renewed hope for a widely available vaccine and a gradual return to normalcy as 2021 unfolds."
U.S. Representative Haley Stevens can be reached at http://www.stevens.house.gov.