Carbajal Announces Penny Borenstein, Van Do-Reynoso As Virtual Guests to Presidential Address
Santa Barbara, CA – Today, Rep. Carbajal named San Luis Obispo County Public Health Director Dr. Penny Borenstein and Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso as his virtual guests to President Biden’s Joint Address to Congress on Wednesday.
The Joint Address, which is President Biden’s first speech to a Joint Session of Congress, marks 100 days into the President’s first term. In previous years, Members of Congress have invited constituents to join them as guests in these speeches before Congress. In order to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, this year’s in-person attendance will be limited.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have turned to our local public health departments to disseminate accurate information and guide our COVID-19 response. I’m honored to have two heroes of the pandemic who played a key role leading our COVID-19 response join me as guests for President Biden’s address to Congress,” said Rep. Carbajal. “We’re now 100 days into the Biden administration and the American Rescue Plan has delivered millions of dollars to the Central Coast to distribute vaccines, lift families out of poverty, and speed up our economic recovery.”
In their roles as Directors of the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties’ respective Public Health Departments, Penny Borenstein and Van Do-Reynoso have gone above and beyond to guide our community through the challenges of the pandemic.
Rep. Carbajal will hold a virtual press conference with the guests following the virtual Joint Address to respond to the President’s speech and take questions from the press. Media must register to attend the press conference here.
Dr. Penny Borenstein received her medical degree from SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse in New York and earned a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. After 20 years in a variety of public health roles in Maryland, she moved across the country to join the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department as Public Health Director in 2008.
Dr. Van Do-Reynoso received her master’s in public health from UC Berkeley and her doctorate at UC Merced. Dr. Do-Reynoso worked as a health director in Madera County for 10 years before becoming director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in 2017.
County public health departments have played a key role in overseeing vaccine distribution and disseminating accurate information to ensure public confidence in the vaccine. To date, California has distributed over 27 million vaccine doses. 45% of Californians have received at least one dose, including 45% of San Luis Obispo residents and 47.6% of Santa Barbara residents. In March, the Biden administration announced a $6 billion American Rescue Plan investment to enhance vaccine distribution at Community Health Centers to help distribute vaccines to underserved communities, including $11.6 million directed toward community health centers on the Central Coast.
In addition to bolstering vaccine deployment, the American Rescue Plan invested in working families through an expansion of the Child Tax Credit which benefits 135,400 Central Coast children, another round of direct payments, and bigger health insurance subsidies. Schools and colleges on the Central Coast received $435 million to support students and safely reopen, local governments received a combined $259.5 million to continue providing essential services to our communities, and the Central Coast received $18.5 million in transit funding . More information on the American Rescue Plan can be found here.