• 63°

Working on vaccines, mail delivery

By Congressman A. Donald McEachin

February has been a busy month in Congress and in the district. I hosted a town hall on vaccinations and COVID-19 and was pleased to have as my guests, Dr. Danny Avula, who the governor has put in charge of vaccine distribution, and Dr. Janice Underwood, chief equity, diversity and inclusion officer for the Commonwealth. As I anticipated, many people have questions and concerns, and I hope we were able to satisfactorily answer most of them.

Two critical issues are supply and distribution. President Biden has increased the supply and, over the last month, over 1.5 million Americans are being vaccinated each week. Our numbers in Virginia and in our district have also encouragingly increased. I understand and appreciate, however, the difficulties of distribution and in ensuring the vaccination gets to those most vulnerable — frontline workers and educators, many of whom are Black and brown. On the federal, state and local level, we are working to get more vaccination sites opened and to increase the methods of signing up for shots.

I am eager to hear from constituents about vaccine concerns and about other issues. Please go to my website, mceachin.house.gov, and let us know your thoughts. To invite a staffer or me to an event, please go to the website and fill out a scheduling request form. I promise you’ll hear back.

Postal issues are still plaguing the district. I have written to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors to strongly recommend that Postmaster Louis DeJoy be replaced. During his tenure, mail delivery has unaccountably and unacceptably slowed down tremendously. I have also written President Biden asking him to fill the vacancies on the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors and, if necessary, replace the present members.

My commitment and concerns about mail delivery date back to early in my Congressional tenure. I’ve written numerous letters of concern and complaint to the Postmaster General and hosted a town hall with postal officials and constituents so the officials could hear firsthand of the numerous issues. These mail slowdowns are simply unacceptable, and I intend to stay intimately involved in resolving them.

I am re-introducing, with Sen. Warner and Republican colleagues, the bipartisan, bicameral Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act, which will encourage groceries and farmers’ markets and mom-and-pop stores to open in food deserts, where there is limited access to stores with healthy, reasonably priced nutritious food for families. Many of us don’t realize that food deserts are not just a rural problem but can happen in urban areas. We need to make sure it is as easy for a parent to go to a grocery store and afford to buy healthy and fresh ingredients as to stop at a fast food restaurant to feed their family. This bill financially incentivizes store to open in food deserts.

I am also re-introducing the Mentor Protégé Act for the Homeland Security Department, which helps small businesses — mom-and-pop, minority and women included — to partner with a large corporation to help them get contracts from Homeland Security. This is helpful in two ways — we are helping our small businesses, the backbone of our economy, who are the businesses most struggling during the pandemic, and we are helping augment homeland security by involving more local businesses with opportunities to provide needed services to keep our communities safe.

 

Congressman Donald McEachin represents Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.