Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Editor’s note: As he traditionally does every August, Brian Greenspun is turning over his Where I Stand column to others this month. In presenting this year’s series of columns from community leaders, we feel it is important that our readers, trying to emerge from the ravages of the pandemic, hear from some of the people who can help guide us to better tomorrows. Today’s guest is Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., who before winning election to the Senate in 2018 was the U.S. representative for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District from 2017 to 2019.
COVID-19 has been an unprecedented test of the Silver State’s resilience. Over the last year, Nevadans have faced monumental challenges to our health and our livelihoods. We’ve worked hard to overcome these obstacles, and have embarked on a path toward recovery. We need to take action and get Nevadans vaccinated, here’s why.
Before COVID, Nevada was stable and thriving. Unemployment was near historic lows, and we were working to do right by hardworking families and communities across our state. People were coming to Nevada to find work, build businesses, make a life for themselves, and start families.
But, when the pandemic arrived, it hit our state hard, sending us into a public health crisis and an economic tailspin.
We saw hospitals, doctor’s offices, and medical facilities pushed to the brink — businesses forced to make impossible decisions to get by, and the highest unemployment rate in the history of our state. Nevadans — through no fault of their own — were left worried about where their next paycheck would come from, whether they’d be able to pay their bills, and how they’d be able to put food on the table.
Watching our city of Las Vegas — the Entertainment Capital of the World — dim its lights as thousands of businesses closed down was heart-wrenching. During this time, a state well known for its tourism, hospitality and round-the-clock excitement and adventure found itself closed for business and without any visitors.
At the onset of this crisis, I wanted Nevadans to know that my office was open and ready to help. We partnered with local chambers of commerce, medical professionals and local leaders to provide information, support and resources that would help Nevadans through these incredibly trying times.
In Congress, I’ve introduced and supported bills to provide, extend and enhance relief efforts in Nevada and nationwide. I’ve also worked to help keep our state’s small businesses open and our schools operating. And in March, we helped to pass the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law. This legislative package provided immediate aid to those in need. It also supercharged our efforts to ensure that everyone in Nevada can easily receive a vaccine.
And as Nevadans started getting vaccinated, we saw our state make real progress in the fight against COVID-19. Businesses are now open, industries are picking up and schools are providing in-person learning. Once more, the Strip is lit up, a sure sign that the Silver State is coming back.
Vaccinations have allowed us to drive our state forward, putting us on the road toward a place where we can finally put COVID in our collective rearview mirror.
Still, as any driver will tell you, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. The fact is, this pandemic is not over, and we cannot allow ourselves to take our foot off the gas. Getting vaccinated is a simple step we can take to continue our progress and get our lives back on track. By getting vaccinated, we can help our state get back to normal, and get one step closer to living our lives fully with our family, friends, and loved ones.
In Senate Health Committee hearings, I have spoken with countless medical professionals, and while chairing the Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade and Export promotion — a committee created in the wake of the pandemic — I have heard from numerous industry experts. The advice from both these groups has been consistently the same: Vaccines will move us out of this pandemic.
Getting vaccinated is free, it is safe and it is the most important thing that you can do to help Nevada and our nation recover.
COVID-19 does not care if you are Democrat or Republican, young or old, from our urban cities or our rural towns; the pandemic puts all of our health at risk just the same. And with new COVID variants emerging, the risk to our health is becoming greater. Vaccines are a safeguard, and by receiving them, we can protect ourselves and limit spread, allowing us to continue making progress on our economic recovery. This is the way we come roaring back, by getting vaccinated.
We can turn the corner. We can take action that will help get Nevada families back to work, get Nevada kids learning safely, and get Nevada businesses back open. We can protect ourselves and our loved ones. We can do all this by choosing to get vaccinated.