Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, named Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County public health director, and Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County public health director, as his virtual guests to President Joe Biden’s Joint Address to Congress today.
The address, which is the president’s first speech to a Joint Session of Congress, marks 100 days into his first term. In previous years, members of Congress have invited constituents to join them as guests in these speeches before Congress.
In order to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, this year’s in-person attendance will be limited.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have turned to our local public health departments to disseminate accurate information and guide our COVID-19 response. I’m honored to have two heroes of the pandemic who played a key role leading our COVID-19 response join me as guests for President Biden’s address to Congress,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement. “We’re now 100 days into the Biden administration and the American Rescue Plan has delivered millions of dollars to the Central Coast to distribute vaccines, lift families out of poverty and speed up our economic recovery.”
In addition, Rep. Carbajal will hold a virtual press conference with the guests following the virtual Joint Address to respond to the president’s speech and take questions from the press.
Dr. Do-Reynoso received her master’s in public health from UC Berkeley and her doctorate at UC Merced. She worked as a health director in Madera County for 10 years before becoming director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in 2017.
Dr. Borenstein received her medical degree from SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse in New York and earned a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. After 20 years in a variety of public health roles in Maryland, she moved across the country to join the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department as Public Health Director in 2008.
County public health departments have played a key role in overseeing vaccine distribution and disseminating accurate information to ensure public confidence in the vaccine. To date, California has distributed over 27 million vaccine doses — 45% of Californians have received at least one dose, including 47.6% of Santa Barbara residents and 45% of San Luis Obispo residents.
The commander-in-chief will highlight the accomplishments of the first 100 days of his presidency, and discuss his vision moving forward. According to national media reports, President Biden will lay out a new $1.5 trillion spending and tax proposal called the “American Families Plan,” along with expanding access to health care and putting police reforms in place.
The president will address Congress at 5 p.m. PT, and it can be viewed at WH.gov/live or streamed on the White House’s social media platforms.