'Here & Now' Highlights: Dr. Susan Turney, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, Will Kenneally
Here's what guests on the Nov. 12, 2021 episode had to say about a pandemic backlash health care providers are seeing in rural areas, funding for lead pipe replacement in the federal infrastructure package, and what's happening in Kenosha as the Kyle Rittenhouse trial ends.
By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now
November 15, 2021
The CEO of the Marshfield Clinic Health System, Dr. Susan Turney, describes protests staged outside its clinics over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees. U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, responds to the funding coming to Wisconsin as part of a federal infrastructure bill — including money for replacing lead pipes. The Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial is scheduled to go to the jury on Nov. 15 and preparations are underway in Kenosha should there be community reaction following the verdict. Here & Now reporter Will Kenneally reports from the city.
- After Marshfield Clinic Health System required COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees, with a deadline to comply by Nov. 15, controversy sparked in the community. Turney described "backlash" from some employees and community members because of this mandate, adding that she has seen some very determined vaccine resistance in their service area. Turney said health systems and hospitals across Wisconsin are facing a similar backlash.
- Turney: "We did have some protests in some of our communities, and we also had staff that were harassed when they were walking to their cars in the parking lot. And you know, we are doing what we can to protect our staff, to protect our patients in this environment. So it has certainly added to the stress that our staff has felt during this pandemic. As we all know, the pandemic has taken truly an extreme toll on all of our workforce."
- As of Nov. 12, eight counties in Wisconsin were designated in the "Critically High" category for COVID-19 infections — six of them in the northwest part of the state.
- Turney: "We do serve a very rural population, and we know that there are counties in our service area that have lower vaccination rates than other parts of the state. However, we are here to serve our patients and we will take care of patients. We have a multi-pronged approach. Obviously, we want to encourage our patients to be vaccinated. We have a lot of information available to them, and we will also speak with them if that would help them understand the benefits of the vaccination."
U.S. Rep Gwen Moore
- President Joe Biden is expected to sign a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law on Nov. 15. Wisconsin will receive billions of dollars, including money toward highways, public transit, broadband internet and water infrastructure — like the removal of lead pipes.
- Moore: "I find that very exciting because I've been buying water once I learned that my first great-grandchild was to be born. Her mom — my granddaughter— showed me the brown water that was coming out of the faucet in her apartment, and I've been buying water ever since then. Scientists have indicated to us that no amount of lead is safe for children, and they have lowered the indicators for it."
- None of Wisconsin's Republican members in the House of Representatives voted in favor of the infrastructure bill. Moore expressed disappointment that Wisconsin Republicans voted against the spending.
- Moore: "On the other side of it, the 13 Republicans who did vote for infrastructure have been threatened. Their lives have been threatened. And so you know, if people did not vote for it because they are feeling cowardly, I guess I can understand it, given the backlash from the sort of Trump atmosphere that he's created around not giving Joe Biden or Democrats a win. But this is a win for the American people, actually."
- Here & Now reached out to multiple House Republicans in Wisconsin, and they declined to appear to discuss their opposition to the bill.
Reporter, Here & Now
- The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial in Kenosha is expected to start verdict deliberations Nov. 15. Jurors will be considering whether to acquit or convict Rittenhouse on multiple charges, including 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, for shooting and killing two people and injuring a third during chaotic protests in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August 2020. Rittenhouse testified during the trial that he shot the men in self defense. Kenneally described what kind of preparations are being made in the city ahead of any verdict.
- Kenneally: "Governor [Tony] Evers activated some 500 National Guard troops to be on standby if local officials need them ... when the verdict comes back, as we're anticipating. Activists say they are in preparations for anything that might happen. We have yet to hear details on that, but we do know that preparations are in the works."
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