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COMMENTARY: Biden-Harris Administration hosts listening session with Tennessee Leaders at White House

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, elected officials, non-profit leaders and community leaders were invited to Washington DC to participate in a White House event called “Communities In Action, Building a Better America.” 

The meeting was a briefing on current Biden-Harris Administration programs and a listening session to hear how these programs have impacted their local communities – directly from those who live in them. Representatives from Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky were invited to participate. 

I was invited as the President of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Members from the Biden-Harris Administration shared updates on programs around infrastructure, clean energy, the economy and lowering costs for Tennessee Families. 

One of the speakers was U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

“We are proud of the investments we’ve made in awarding $54 million to Memphis Area Transit Authority for a new operations and maintenance facility to accommodate more vehicles,” Buttigieg said. “I’ve been down to Memphis attending an event at the  Memphis International Airport and we’ve awarded them a grant for terminal modernization.”

In Tennessee, residents are saving money on their health care premiums and prescription drugs, high-speed internet and home energy costs. Nearly 1.3 million Tennesseans with Medicare will benefit from the $2,000 yearly cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, a $35 monthly cap per insulin prescription, and free vaccines. 

According to the Biden-Harris Administration, more than 338,000 Tennesseans signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act during the 2023 enrollment period and will benefit from savings of lower health care premiums. 

I thanked the Administration for providing the Affordable Connectivity Program investment bringing free internet services to underserved communities. More than 340,000 people in our state took advantage of the ACP program. Program funding is about to end, but the administration is looking at the possibility of extending this program according to staff.

Shelby County Commission Chairwoman Miska Clay Bibbs, thanked the Biden-Harris Team for their investments in Tennessee. 

“I’m thankful for all the investments made in Tennessee by the Biden-Harris Administration, including the financial assistance provided for BlueOval City, MATA and the Memphis International Airport,” said Clay Bibbs. “I also want President Biden to know that we need more investment in Memphis and Shelby County. Anything you can do to assist us would be appreciated.”

Others representing Tennessee included: 

  • Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly
  • State Senator Charlane Oliver (Nashville)
  • State Senator Jeff Yarbro (Nashville)
  • State Representative Harold Love (Nashville)
  • State Representative Gloria Johnson (Knoxville)
  • State Representative Sam McKenzie (Knoxville)
    (*McKenzie also chairs the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators)
  • Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Hendrell Remus
  • Out Memphis Executive Director Molly Quinn
  • A representative from the Ironworkers Union.

NOTE: Deidre Malone is the Vice President of the parent company that owns The Tri-State Defender.

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