BLAIR, Neb. (KMTV) — The husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff, was in Blair Tuesday to see how rural healthcare was operating during the pandemic.
“You didn’t hear us talk about politics at all, you just heard us talk about communities in need,” said Emhoff, the county's Second Gentleman.
Emhoff toured part of the hospital, led two roundtables with healthcare workers and went across the parking lot to a local church giving vaccinations.
While taking this in, Emhoff was also pushing a message. Specifically, that the recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan will help rural Nebraska.
“We’re all in this together, it doesn’t matter where you live. This plan helps everybody,” said Emhoff.
Emhoff was looking for a message to send back to Washington.
He was told public health needs more funding and that the community needs more healthcare workers. He was also told there needs to be a focus on the mental health of the healthcare workers already in the field and how infrastructure like rural broadband is needed now more than ever.
“If you want to rely on telemedicine, you need better broadband. If kids have to learn remotely, we need better broadband,” said Emhoff.
Emhoff seemed genuinely surprised that CEO and President of Memorial Community Hospital and Health System, Manny Banner, was on the front lines, giving vaccinations when they ran out of nurses.
“To have a leader like that who puts herself out there and leads by example, especially during this pandemic,” said Emhoff. “It’s kind of doing more with less but they have to do it. You heard them all say how rewarding it was.”
Banner also told Emhoff that she was thankful for the visit because it shows what they’re doing out in the rural part of the country really matters.