Local chairs of both the Democratic and Republican parties believe that the promises made by President Joe Biden on Thursday night can be accomplished.
During Mr. Biden’s first national address since taking office, he promised vaccine eligibility for every adult by May 1, the ability to celebrate July 4 with family members, and 100 million vaccines administered by his 60th day in office.
Darcel Elliot, the newly elected chair of the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party, told the News-Press that she thought the president’s speech was “very promising and exciting.”
“I think that there may be some trepidation from people because we had the previous president make many comments all the time about setting goals for the country to reopen and all that stuff and none of those were met,” Ms. Elliot said. “I think the difference is that this includes a pretty concrete plan and also funding to go along with the plan. There might be some folks a little traumatized from the last four years, but it looks really promising and feels really promising.”
She said she believes his vaccine promise is “absolutely possible if we stay on track,” taking into account a steady increase in vaccines locally for the past two weeks and the addition of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Regarding the commander in chief’s American Rescue Plan that he recently signed into law, Ms. Elliot said she thinks the $1,400 stimulus payments to residents is “nowhere near enough for folks who are really struggling.”
“I think it’s important for people to recognize that in addition to the direct payments, there’s also rental assistance and unemployment benefits, so that’s not the only funding mechanism,” she said. “There’s other relief available, they just require a little more jumping through hoops. My preference would be to make it as easy as possible for people to be able to survive this financially, but I do think it’s important to note that that’s not the only form of financial aid available for people.”
Bobbi McGinnis, chair of the county’s Republican Party, told the News-Press that she thought President Biden “looked better than I’ve seen him look since Inauguration Day,” and that he was “alert, attentive, in control and sincere about his thought processes.”
“I think his promises were kept from President Trump,” Ms. McGinnis said. “He (Mr. Trump) promised a warp speed vaccine and we were able to get it … I’m calling it the Trump vaccine, maybe it’s a Biden dissemination of the vaccine, but that gives me more confidence.”
She said she and many of her friends and family members all feel comfortable receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I think President Biden is right (with) his promise of all adults as of May 1, so we can all start to get together as families by July 4th. We are going to be celebrating freedom and getting back to a free society,” Ms. McGinnis said.
The Republican Chair said that because it was announced initially that 2 million or more could die of the virus, “the fact that only half a million have passed because of the virus” is “another sign of success for America.”
She added that she has a few questions she wished she could’ve asked the president after his speech, including: “If he’s so concerned about the American people and the virus, why did he open up the borders?” “Why are gas prices 30% to 50% higher since he’s been in office and how is that going to impact families and businesses?” and “Why is he not giving more press conferences so we can actually see him in action?”
Ms. McGinnis added that she thinks the American Rescue Plan “feels a little bit late, doesn’t it?”
“I’m glad that there’s money getting into the hands of small businesses and into the unemployed through no fault of their own,” she said. “But all Republicans voted against it because there’s so much pork in it. Only 9% is actually going to direct COVID-19 relief … There’s all kinds of other special interest money that’s being dispersed and that’s a little distressing as well.”