Santa Barbara County’s Public Health director, Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, will attend President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress on Wednesday evening as the virtual guest of Congressmember Salud Carbajal. The honor, which will also be extended to Dr. Penny Borenstein, public health director for San Luis Obispo County, recognizes their key leadership during the pandemic, a time that has called for trusted guidance and information, Carbajal said.
“I am tremendously honored to be invited to participate in this event,” Do-Reynoso said. “It is truly an honor of a lifetime. Public Health has been at the center of a tumultuous year, and this recognition is for every member of the Public Health team who has been serving our diverse communities since March 2020.” She also noted that the Biden administration has enabled vaccination to reach a new level throughout the community.
The speech before both houses of Congress marks Biden’s first 100 days in office, a timeframe that has come to presage an administration’s priorities and abilities during the coming four years. As the country slowly recovers from the pandemic, both economically and medically, Biden’s speech is expected to address COVID-19 — which has claimed 572,000 lives nationwide — and the infrastructure overhaul his administration is currently in full swing promoting and courting among senators and representatives.
Normally, the 535 congressmembers are allowed to invite one in-person guest each, Carbajal’s office said, though the former Santa Barbara County supervisor decided to invite two virtually. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in whose chamber the speech is held, limited attendance to about 200 lawmakers, following coronavirus protocols, with no in-person guests and amid high post-January-6 security.