Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris speaking to a crowd of invited guests at Lumen Field
Vice President Kamala Harris had a busy 24 hours in Seattle.
She was greeted by protestors as she pulled into the Fairmont Olympic Hotel Tuesday night amid a heavy security presence. But by Wednesday morning she was meeting with student government leaders and gushing about big plans, “I’m here because of all of our young leaders. It is you who have motivated the work that we are doing, that is demonstrated by these beautiful school buses.”
Surrounded by four electric school buses Kalama Harris told an invitation only crowd of more than 200 at Lumen Field, “this bus symbolizes so much about our collective investment in our children, in their health and in their education.”
The Biden administration set aside close to one billion dollars in grant money for school districts across America to pivot from diesel powered school buses to electric. “Not only are these pollutants harmful to the environment” EPA administrator Michael Regan told the crowd the impacts are far reaching, “but they’re also harmful to people’s health, to the children who ride the bus to the bus drivers.” The goal is to electrify 95% of the school buses in America.
This is part of the President new Infrastructure Law and a broader plan to upgrade schools and create cleaner-better learning environments. The Inflation Reduction Act includes $50 million to address air pollution in schools. Four school districts in Washington were awarded grants; including the South Whidbey Island school district.
It was a memorable day for a lot of reasons.
“I’m now honored to welcome a person who has paved the way for women like me Vice President Harris’’ 16-year-old Audrey Gmerek was nervous and giddy as she introduced the Vice President, “Introducing the vice president! I can’t even put that feeling into words. I think this might be, I’d say the best day of my life.” Gmerek estimates she was 9 years old when she attended her first protest.
“Raise your hand if you love a yellow school bus” Kamala Harris shared her own memories of taking the bus to school, but that’s just one of the things that resonated with this crowd. “You see the possibilities of what could be,” Denae Williams wanted her 13-year-old daughter Simone to see a woman of color in a position of power, “and she is a shining, glaring example of the ‘Black girl magic’ that we like to call it my community.”
Four school districts in Washington were awarded grants including the South Whidbey Island district. “The clock is ticking,” The Vice President says there’s no disputing the effects of climate change anymore “We owe it to our children to right now take these issues very seriously.”
The grant program was so popular EPA administrator Regan another round of funding will be released in the months ahead, “the EPA will make available another one billion dollars from the bi-partisan infrastructure law for school buses for the year 2023.”